Monday, July 12, 2010

ABSENTEE CHILDREN / Part 247 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Each day that Paul and Zabeth awake, they step past rooms in which their children's things are contained and because the children are gone, these clothes and toys are transformed into the signs of their absence. These lonely suffering people begin another day, like so many other days, hundreds of days. It takes their breath away. They start the day with a punch to the gut. Yet graciously the day may be one of the three each week during which three hours are allocated for them to visit with the children who no longer live in their home. The mornings cannot pass soon enough. These afternoon minutes are joy-filled, each treasured and remembered. Children fill Paul's and Zabeth's embrace, climb on their laps, sit astride Paul's shoulders, snuggle into Zabeth's neck. Always, always a supervisor sits as close to this action as possible to hear each verbal exchange, each endearment, each casual comment. A supervisor with the responsibility and the gall to remonstrate these parents if either does or says anything that has previously forbidden. The prohibition may pertain to a conversation topic or taking a child to the washroom. Even the brief snatches of family sanity and wholeness are moderated by an invasion of excessive control. On the other four days each week, Paul and Zabeth live with a reality that should only be a nightmare from which they can awake. The children are not there. They don't sit together for bowls of cereal. They don't ask mom and dad to take them to the beach. They don't make children's sounds at play. Their rooms are silent.

4 comments:

  1. Yes, and that is why blogs like this and news media journalists must keep telling people, "Look, there is wood here."

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  2. Ron;your Sunday blog was most timely, in that it touched on many aspects of assessment. You mentioned the Bayne risk asessment and as I proceed to outline the components of good assessment, your readers can see that the Bayne assessment is more like an example of what not to do.
    Many of the basic concepts of good child protection are quite simple and easy to understand. Unfortunately like so many simple things in life, they are easy to forget or avoid. Consider a simple concept like eating less and exercising more. Nothing to it, is there? In child protection, all one has to do is to keep focus on the essential guidelines and one cannot go wrong. Of course in real life there can be dozens of distractions and people with power and influence may jar one off course. All sorts of irrelevant things can get in the way. The same is true of assessment. There are some basic concepts and if you keep them all in mind, assessment can be quite straightforward. What you want to do is to get the true picture. Not a part picture, or a distorted, filtered picture, but as much of the whole picture as you need to make decisions. In order to do that you must keep your brain engaged at all times and you must not be distracted by supervisors, directors, psychologists and schoolteachers.
    A good knowledge of human behaviour is another important tool. Avoid simplistic concepts about people. All families undergo stress at times and this is a normal part of the human condition. We all have strengths and weaknesses and different abilities to cope with stress. Do we not all have warts on us somewhere?
    Perhaps we can see how this works out in practice by looking at parents who encounter unusual and severe stress in life and can no longer cope. In most cases the stress falls on women who are left to cope with young children. Stress can be caused by various forms of marital breakdown, bankruptcy, an alcoholic spouse, bereavement, spousal imprisonment, mental and emotional breakdown,physical illness, loss of home and so on. Often extended family may live far away, leaving the woman with no support network.In many cases the woman would come to the office, or be brought in by someone and the request would be to admit the child, or children into care immediately. (It seemed to me that it was usually the last thing on a Friday afternoon!) The woman would look like a nervous wreck and the situation hopeless.
    The first thing to do is to make sure that immediate needs are met. It may well be that the woman had no previous connection with financial services and did not know what help could be offered. Offer immediate emotional and practical support. They could often cope when given immediate financial and other help. So simple to do when one carried both services back in the good old days! With others it was necessary to place the child or children in temporary care, until things could be sorted out. Unless there was a compelling protection concern, I preferred the voluntary care, which left control with the parents. I remember one woman who wanted to leave her baby in the office right here and now. I contacted an emergency foster home and inisted on the woman and child coming with me, so that she knew where her baby was and where to visit. The foster mother became a great friend and resource to the mother, until she could take back her child.
    The second thing to do is to make a careful and detailed assessment, so one knows what strengths and weaknesses are present. Always remember that one works through people's strengths and not through their failings. Dwelling on failings is also a good way to destroy their self-confidence. One may not be able to start the assessment until the situation has been calmed, but every experience with the client from the start will provide material. One must be very, very careful not to make premature judgements, because people can be so consumed with grief or with their desperate situation, that their appearance can belie their true strengths.
    to be continued

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  3. God's word is that our Sovereign Ruler is the same... yesterday, today and forever.

    Proverb 18:5 To respect the person of the wicked and be partial to him, so as to deprive the righteous of justice is not good.

    Mark 8:15 'Be careful', Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of G. Campbell." [Herod]

    Proverbs 28:28 When the wicked (Campbell's Liberals)rise to power, people go into hiding: but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive. The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked (MCFD, Du Toit, Polak) have no such concern. If a ruler listens to lies all his officials become wicked. When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall. The righteous detest the dishonest, the wicked detest the upright.

    Psalm 52:1-7 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practise deceit. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue! Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at him, saying, "Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!"

    Jeremiah 17:18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and break them with a double breach destroy them with double destruction.

    Proverbs 17:13 If a man pays evil for good, evil will never leave his house.

    Proverbs 21:28 A false witness will perish, and whoever listens to him will be destroyed forever.

    Proverbs 22:22-23 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.

    Proverbs 11:31 If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

    Isaiah 49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then ALL mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

    Psalm 55 Let evil recoil on those who slander me, in your faithfulness destroy them. Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city. Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave, for evil finds lodging among them.

    Proverbs 24:19-20 DO NOT FRET because of evildoers. Do not envy the wicked; for the evil have no future, the lamp of the wicked WILL GO OUT.

    Deut. 32:35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, in the time when their foot shall slide, for the day of their disaster is at hand and their doom comes speedily.

    1 John 3:8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

    Matt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

    Luke 10:19 I have given YOU authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to OVERCOME ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY; nothing will harm you.

    Isaiah 55:11 The Word of God that I speak from my mouth will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it to me.

    Our Heavenly Father, in Jesus mighty name we wash those who think they are above the law in the Word of God to bring upon them the sentence that has been written against them for the GOD ALMIGHTY WHO STILL SITS ON HIS THRONE IN HEAVEN SAYS in Jeremiah 1:12 The Lord watches over His word to perform it. And ALL the people said, "AMEN".

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