Monday, June 14, 2010

REFORM MCFD ONLINE PETITION / Part 220 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Today, Judge Crabtree rules on Paul and Zabeth Bayne's application for unsupervised access privileges.


Yesterday, I introduced Leah Flagg's online petition. Here is the letter to which you will sign your name.

OPEN PETITION LETTER.
To Premier Campbell, Ministry Mary Polak
The present structure of Ministry of Child and Family Development and its mandate is lacking in accountability to client families and the public in general. It allows for mismanagement of scarce resources and abuse of authority.

The following is a petition to reform specific aspects of the programs and services provided by MCFD.

ACCOUNTABILITY

The authority to remove children from their parents is a necessary evil in the task of protecting vulnerable children. However, when mistakes are made or its authority misused, the MCFD uses its power and bureaucratic process to protect its social workers rather than the interests of the children and families it exists to provide care for.

The current MCFD complaints process is biased. It does not allow client families an adequate means of ensuring their social workers hold to the appropriate standards of their profession nor to the MCFD Mandate and Service Regulations.

Because the complaints process fails to render satisfactorily impartial resolution of clients’ concerns, it must be regulated by an outside organization that does not have a stake in the outcome. To completely assure a measure of accountability, it must be compulsory for all active social workers to register with B.C. College of Social Workers.

DELIVERY OF SERVICES

Overwhelmingly, service delivery focuses on child protection and not enough on support and prevention. The framework for a supportive and preventative approach to service delivery exists but it is not satisfactorily implemented.

Expensive foster home resources must be reserved for the children who need that level of care, but these resources are persistently being utilized for children who would be better served with support services in their own homes. Social workers consistently opt for removal and out-of-home foster placement when preventative/support services would more efficiently help families achieve their goals.

The formula for allocating funding must be based on the number and type of services required by families, as opposed to the number of children who are held in the custody and guardianship of the MCFD. Utilizing such a formula could help deter social workers from unnecessarily removing children from their parents.

TRAINING INITIATIVES & RECRUITMENT

Inadequate numbers of qualified support workers contributes to the extensive wait lists for services and drastically weakens the capacity to implement programs for vulnerable children and youth. There must be funding allocated specifically for recruiting and training support workers in the field of community, residential and in-home support services to children and youth.

YOUTH TRANSITION TO INDEPENDENT LIVING

Currently, when a youth turns nineteen the MCFD does little to ensure a safe and healthy transition toward independent living, even when the youth is known to not have the ability to function independently. This is unacceptable. The MCFD must follow the youth into adulthood and support them as a parent would.

Transitional support services must be provided based on individual capacity for adaptive functioning rather than an arbitrary IQ or age criteria. These two criteria alone disqualify the vast majority of vulnerable youth for support services.

It is not enough for social workers to simply refer youth to a name and phone number of community organizations and expect them to obtain services. It must be the social worker’s responsibility to ensure the youth has suitable housing and support services in place before the youth turns nineteen.

Where the youth’s family is willing and capable of assisting the youth through transition, they must be encouraged and supported in doing so with appropriate in-home/community support services provided by MCFD.

CONCLUSION

Failing to be accountable and support our children and youth is inconsistent with the values I hold as a British Columbian. On behalf of BC’s vulnerable children and youth, I am making it my responsibility as a citizen to speak out against this government’s failure to provide for their best interests.

Premier Campbell and Minister Polak; you have a duty to protect and support BC’s children and youth in our communities. Please act immediately to reform our broken system of services for these, some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Sincerely,
The Undersigned

19 comments:

  1. This petition correctly identified some problems but is grossly insufficient to solve the problems created by MCFD and to end ministry-created atrocities that families are suffering from child removal authority.

    I admire the effort. After all, does a petition matter? Even a formal petition like the Fight HST petition (a campaign led by Bill Vander Zalm) is not binding on the BC government under the Recall and Initiative Act. The maximum this petition could get is publicity and a thank you letter from the Minister's secretary.

    Problems raised by pro-family writers in this blog are not new. They have been identified and openly raised for quite some time by oppressed parents, turncoat SW, advocates, academicians, retired judges and a few politicians who risked their career. The relevant question is why nothing has been done to rectify such serious problems? Why an elected government supposedly acting according to the will of its people chose to turn a blind eye?

    Reforming the malpractice and the structural corruption of MCFD is a lot more difficult, risky and dangerous than what most people could comprehend.

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  2. Anon 12:53 AM, in what you said is the reality that still astounds me and concerns me....

    "Problems raised by pro-family writers in this blog are not new. They have been identified and openly raised for quite some time by oppressed parents, turncoat SW, advocates, academicians, retired judges and a few politicians who risked their career. The relevant question is why nothing has been done to rectify such serious problems? Why an elected government supposedly acting according to the will of its people chose to turn a blind eye?

    Reforming the malpractice and the structural corruption of MCFD is a lot more difficult, risky and dangerous than what most people could comprehend."

    In there is the relevant question as you say, why nothing has been done. Can someone answer that? Someone in this present government or in the ministry itself?

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  3. Ron;good topic today, but right now I want to address some recent issues on your blog. Two of these issues are connected.A number of people have commented that taking away children against the wishes of th parents is is traumatic and abusive. I have heard a number of people express this rather simplistic view,including one or two social work professors. Most people expressing such opinions have never done the work and been faced with the difficult decisions that come with the job. On that score I qualify, having taken hundreds of children into care. I have read the files on hundreds of children who have been left in positions of abuse and neglect for years. Extreme neglect is also abusive. In case after case this sad saga continued. Children would be in and out of care while their parents were in and out of jail,or mental hospital.Each time parents would go on a bender the children would be removed and returned. Every year the children became more damaged and hard to place.
    Eventually the inevitable would happen. The children ran away, or got thrown out of home,or came into care through delinquency. By this time the children did not know how to live in normal homes, but they were placed in foster homes and the foster parents were supposed to repair the damage of years as soon as possible. When many of these placements inevitably failed, the fostering system and the foster parents got the blame.
    On the other hand, when children were abandoned or deserted in infancy, they were immediately placed in adoptive homes or in long-term foster care.Many foster homes adopted these children too. When placed young most of these children had stable lives with no more deviation than in the general population. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that many abandoned kids were better off than those left at home. During this time the activities of the protection staff were largely ritualistic.Everyone seemed to believe the myth that there is no such thing as an unfit parent and one simply had to find the right resource to help them function. As supervisor of the long term foster care department of the then Victoria children's aid society, I had to deal with the aftermath of these decisions. I also got to know many foster parents very well. I learned to have great respect for the commitment of most of these people. They are among the most wonderful human beings that I have ever met and I still count some of them among my friends. Of course some homes are unsuitable, but these are soon detected if one really gets to know them as people.
    We regarded foster parents as valuable colleagues to be respected. They often taught us more than we taught them in foster parent meetings. In recent years I have done some volunteer consultant work with our local foster parents association and I have been dismayed by the cavalier treatment that many foster parents report. They reported that 98% of foster home closure appeals are rejected. Does anyone believe that the MCFD gets it right 98% of the time? One cannot recruit and retain quality foster homes by abusing them. So possibly one is increasingly left with those who do it for the money.

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  4. On today's topic. The unaccountability of the children's ministry is enshrined in the law which gives total power to local directors.The idea is to protect them from political interference. This assumes that they are capable of making sound professional decisions, which they obviously are not. In order to change this one has to change the law, which means getting the members of the legislature to act. It seems to me that the obvious place to start is with the inter party child welfare committee. The members have to learn to bury their party hatchets and to work together for the good of children. Instead of bickering along party divisions, they need to develop a burning concern about the issues raised in your blog and to develop a passion for promoting the best standards of child welfare. If these people cannot be bothered, you do not have any hope of petitions being heeded.

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  5. Re: Accountability - agreed.

    MCFD has already developed a Youth Transition plan into adulthood. Put into practice over the last year.

    These links refers to youth with special needs: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/spec_needs/adulthood.htm

    http://www.communitylivingbc.ca/news_and_events/documents/RolesandTasks.pdf

    Can't locate a link re: your "Vanilla" youth who transition to adulthood on google but rest assured one has been developed and is implemented province-wide.

    An article to support the need for such a program: http://www.colloquejeunes2009.enap.ca/site/docs/Rhea%20Del%20Vecchio.pdf

    Youth to Adulthood transition planning is now required to start when a child is placed in care and is at least 13 years of age. Forgive the lack of a link.

    Re: Service Delivery - vast majority if support services require SW completed referral, and most are preventative. Simply the most expensive are saved for those in-care. I'll refer you to: Options Surrey Community Services - http://www.options.bc.ca/. Not sure if the web page has been updated since its merger with Surrey Community Services - http://www.scss.ca/.

    Note how many do NOT require open MCFD file or referral. Note how many DO. Even those which require MCFD referral, not all need to have a file kept open - I believe near-100% of these are voluntary.

    OSCSS is just ONE example of many community agencies providing preventative practice. ALL of these agencies are understaffed as noted in the petition.

    These youth/outreach workers for these agencies are out there in boat loads looking for work or in school currently. The positions simply aren't made available to them.

    To be honest, the petition is nice, but far too general to sign.

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  6. Why has nothing been done? Parents all over Canada are asking that same question. No one wants to take responsibility for all the problems within MCFD. No one wants to pay the price to re-organize the entire system. There is no specific, single, simple answer to fixing a child protection system that has gone so awry. It seems that no two people can even agree on the possible solutions that do exist. All the quick fixes including things proposed in the Flagg's petition, will not solve the overall situation. Who is going to sit down and figure out an answer that parents, politicians and social workers will be happy with? I see child protection as an urgent matter that needs solving sooner than later because it is urgent. Children who need to be in care are often neglected by MCFD, children who don't need to be in care are put in care, therefore living at greater risk for abuse, neglect, poverty, suicide, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, mental health issues and whatever else. The politicians don't want to take responsibility for finding the cure, social workers don't think we need a cure, and the general public is unaware that anything is even wrong. Publicity is the first step. The public needs to be educated on the issues pertaining to MCFD and child protection so they know exactly what their hard earned tax dollars are paying for when it comes to protecting children from harm. People need to get ready to start thinking because it's going to take a lot of work to come up with an answer and we need an answer that will change the future of child protection indefinitely. No more band aids.
    And who is responsible for what's happening to children in BC because of MCFD? We all are. Every single one of us is responsible for letting it go on and on and on without doing anything but talking and complaining it. It's time to take a stand. When it comes to children and their future, there is no room for error.
    PAC

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  7. This is why nothing has been done:
    http://thetyee.ca/Views/2009/01/08/HughesReport/

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  8. It only takes a mediocre imagination to appreciate the fact that taking a child from his or her parents is incredibly damaging. Human bonds are not so easily broken or repaired, despite what the adoption industry would have us believe.

    Even when children are not in ideal conditions, they still at least feel love for their parents, and even in bad situations, may get some sort of love in return. When they go to a foster situation, too much of the time they don't have anyone to love. And as so many of us have learned, they have no one to love them, except their parents, with whom they are no longer permitted to spend any time. Or if they are permitted time with them, it is within the confines of a visitation, which is a kind of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Ray Ferris, you make it sound like the vast majority of foster situations are, or where, pretty wonderful. This is absolutely contrary to everything parents and former foster children are saying.

    And if these children are doing so well in these wonderful foster situations, why is it that so many of them are being drugged? So they won't feel the pain of separation, so they won't communicate the pain, or both? It seems that many of them just stay drugged for the rest of their sorry, sad lives. Which is probably just they way the MCFD likes it.

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  9. The Evidence is In: Foster Care vs. Keeping Families Together: The Definitive Studies

    http://www.nccpr.org/reports/evidence.pdf

    "Child welfare agencies have a disingenuous response to all this: “Why yes, of course,”
    they like to say. “This research just shows what we’ve always said ourselves: foster care only should be used as a last resort; of course we keep families together whenever possible.” But this research shows that agency actions belie their words. These studies found thousands of children already in foster care who would have done better had child protection agencies not taken them away in the first place.

    ....
    These new studies and the Minnesota study are in addition to the comprehensive study
    of foster care alumni showing that only one in five could be said to be doing well as a young adult – in other words, foster care churns out walking wounded four times out of five. (See NCCPR’s publication 80 Percent Failure (http://www.nccpr.org/reports/cfpanalysis.pdf)for more on this study) and the mass of evidence showing that simply in terms of physical safety, real family
    preservation programs have a far better track record than foster care. (See NCCPR Issue Paper
    #1: http://www.nccpr.org/reports/01SAFETY.pdf)"

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  10. Might as well add these three items:

    Three high priority items come to mind:

    1. Timely delivery of disclosure / evidence materials prior to a report to court and subsequent presentation hearing.

    At the moment, the representative of the director submits this vital information at the last minute to reduce the already miniscule change parents have at defending themselves at this stage.

    Intake reports and risk assessment documents are presented as-is, and for untrained readers, can be indeciferable. Facts are often redacted (blacked out) along with names, which is inappropriate.

    Freedom of Information requests are also useless when parents request information their tax dollars have paid for collecting, given the reason their children are in care.

    Parents even equipped with skills lawyers have an uphill battle to form an effective defense at this stage. This is the only chance at knocking a removal order down to a supervision order.

    2. SUPERVISION requirements need to be spelled out better. in the word of one BC Supreme Court Judge: "Supervision is an unusual requirement not to be imposed without a sound basis in evidence." Neither a report to court appearance or supervision hearng permits sufficient time to present such evidence, especially in light of point 1, where parents get no time to respond to allegations and disclosure materials.

    MCFD uses supervision not for safety, but as a control and information gathering/ information prevention mechanism to prevent parents from gathering negative information from children in care, and to keep parents from giving the children hope they will be returned soon. The Ministry gathers information, and write down what they think is important, they omit items that are clearly positive to parents (child demonstrates clear attachment, parent consoles child, responds appropriately to child's needs etc.)

    There are various states of supervision, full-on note taking never out of sight or earshot supervision, non-paid (friends or relatives)notes, and no-notes taking observation, casual (out of the room but within earshot) and out of earshot within eyesight (ie. a park), drop-in (random check in to the visit room). The Ministry always uses the most intensive, most expensive form for months and years (in the case of the Baynes).

    3. Spelled out times for visitations. The typically allocated visit time of 3 or 6 hours a week during working hours for parents "suspected" (with emphasis) of injuring their child, really is a joke, and tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment for both the children and parents who can suffer life-long attachment and bonding issues depending on the age and emotional development of the children involved.

    Some parents are forced to pay for supervision beyond a certain time. Holidays cost double. Initial removals, MCFD often claims supervision facilities are "busy" - this critial initia removal period is designed to instill the maximum amount of terror and abandonment into the children, and for MCFD to quickly establish a new pecking order, so the social worker and foster parent can quickly instill understanding in the child so they understand who their new master is, and their parents cannot save them.

    ---

    That said, such "solutions" offerred by afflicted parents put into an online petition is likely a natural response to a removal. But, as the previous commenter observed, unlikely to get you anywhere.

    When you get say, twenty parents who have been found not guilty of child abuse and their children are found by the courts not to need protection (which I would expect the Baynes to be one of these families), the first step is file a class action lawsuit.

    The next is for all these parents collectivey to speak to the media to explain the woes of the child protection. Blameless parents have more power. This way, MCFD has more explaining to do. This way, politicians have to explain why they are not doing anything.

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  11. The Tyee stories are very good quality. Great link.

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  12. Class action lawsuit against these phoney "child protectors."

    Parents and children who have been treated with such singular cruelty will be suing; it's only a matter of time.

    Once the lawyers see that there is money to be made, and in fact once the entire "justice" system sees that there is money to be made, and jobs to be had, and in fact a virtual industry can be made out of getting justice for wronged parents and children, they will all jump on the bandwagon. Everyone will be suing these incredibly corrupt "child protectors."

    And I say, good, because they deserve everything they get.


    I wouldn't want to be in their shoes then. Tables have a way of turning, so none of them should feel so arrogant and omnipotent with their bullying power. It won't last.

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  13. I agree that foster homes are not always the first resort and shouldn't be the first resort taken for any child.
    I am a parent of a child that has been removed, and not for reasons you may be thinking as you read this.
    I have never done drugs, I am not dangerous, and I took excellent care of my children as anyone who had seen me with them would say.
    I've been victimized, scrutinized, and lied about in every single court date held. I don't have anything nice to say about MCFD or the actions they take.
    Yes, foster care should really be a last resort. In my case, it was the first resort. Because they didn't want to look bad they said it was because I wasn't home so they couldn't give me the supervision order papers. Funny, they had TCO papers the very next day. Does that not sound like they are lying to you? If you think not you are a fool.
    I am being honest when I say I am a clean person completely. I am on income assistance but I also have my fathers help who is on Army Pension. Not even Veterans Affairs will touch this situation. These people are full of power; all they want is to intimidate parents and families and watch them get torn apart.
    I've seen the psychotic looks on their faces as this happens, they love it. They like seeing the child scream and cry out for their mother, brings them inner satisfaction when they see the turmoil it brings them. They are monsters. Go ahead and say otherwise, it just shows how gullible and oblivious to this fact that you are.
    I have dealt with these people for 4 years constantly trying to prove them wrong, when I prove them wrong they bring it up again and again and again. They don't care how many times I prove I am a good mom they go behind me and mess it all up again.
    My sons have been moved twice from foster homes, and by the way.. I just had a baby and they took that at birth.
    Think about that one..
    My children are 4 years old, 1 1/2, and 1 1/2 months old.
    They told me I was taking my baby home, they changed their minds after I had prepared myself with everything for my baby. They took the baby right from the hospital like they did his older brother.
    By the way, their father grew up in care. That's another reason why they removed my children.
    Try to jumble that in your head.
    FOSTER CARE IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION.
    I agree with this blog. Get someone at least that will HELP with the situations. No child should have to endure what my oldest is going through.

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  16. I sympathize with the previous commenter.
    I am a father and I was removed from my home leaving the mother (my common-law partner) completely alone to care for our four children.
    Of course they are paranoid that I am a "dangerous" person that could grievously harm MY OWN KIDS whom I love.
    At that time I was working hard with a full-time job, and yes we needed help with a lot of things like counseling, parenting, and some guidance in how to balance all our responsibilities. What do they do? They make it WORSE.
    I had to sneak over there (home) against their orders because there was NO WAY I was going to let my children suffer by letting the mother slave herself (oh by the way, did I mention that our youngest was only THREE MONTHS OLD at the time? And that she was a post-partum breast-feeding mother? AND Expected to do EVERYTHING and take the kids to school?)
    Then they say she's incompetent. DUH!! When you take the father away, OF COURSE !! Heck, I WOULD BE INCOMPETENT without the mother !!
    Later they said that they actually suspected me of sexual abuse; of course it was never true. Why would I even speak about it here if it was? I am not ashamed because there was NO sexual abuse at all. So you see about the paranoia I'm talking about.

    The best thing they could have done was knock on the door and say "can we help?"
    I would have said "YES!" right away!

    Long story short, presently all four kids are in the adoption process - and I can't see my kids because the Ministry still claims the kids are "traumatized" by US THEIR PARENTS, and not because they've blown our family to pieces. All we’ve done is love them and try our best – oh I forgot to mention, NO drugs, NO alcohol, and NO infedelity. All I did was be a hard-working father who tried his best to love his kids and support his family.

    Thanks, MCFD. Ministry of Children AND FAMILY ??? No... it's just the Ministry of CHILDREN. MOC. They don’t help families, just children, and only concerned about the protection... of their social worker’s asses.

    Like the previous blogger, I have got NOTHING good to say about them, and I am sorry to say I would NOT CALL the Ministry to protect children. I would call emergency, but not them.

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  19. Readers, Repliers and Author of the blog,
    The decision isn't always necessary to remove a child. I have trial coming up and have only seen social worker witnesses. Where are real viable witnesses that obviously aren't all working together at a false statement?
    A silent protest at the main court in Vancouver is an option and probably a good idea. (no protests that hurt or harm other people.)
    My children have been even more so neglected in care then ever in the oldest child's entire life.
    Just yesterday my son begged me not to leave him and held my leg so tight I could feel it falling asleep.
    I currently go to UFV and am taking many classes; some even to improve my parenting, such as Child Psychology. I just want my kids back so I can finally be with them and hold them in my arms and tell them every night how much I love them.
    I highly disagree that foster-care is better. There are a lot of homes that are sexually, emotionally, and physically abusive.
    I will MAKE myself be heard by the government officials. If you think this is so positive PROVE IT with VIABLE evidence.
    Discover the truth before just making up a bunch of stuff so you can use your power to harm OUR future. THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN! GIVE THEM A VOICE! LISTEN TO THEM! Isn't that your job?
    These kids are our future, and the last thing we need is all of our future in and out of juvenile detention, becoming child molesters, and becoming abusive drunks or drug addicts. How does this give children a voice? There was no abuse of any kind in my home. I went out of my way to make sure he had everything he needed. Food, clothes, everything. This community doesn't know me, nor do they know their very own government officials. Social Workers: Aggressive, abusive, and completely immature.
    That sums up pretty much every single social worker I have met, they always get personal and abuse their power.. if there IS one that has EVER returned a child to a parent and left them there, let me know. That would perhaps change my mind about this so called helpful industry.
    Email me if your interested in hearing more of my story.

    -Miss Missy
    bean_fishy@hotmail.com

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