Sunday, July 25, 2010

MEDIATION / Part 258 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

MCFD versus Baynes resumes at the Chilliwack Court House on August 8th. Isn't the word 'versus' reprehensible in the context of a family?  It is technically an inquiry rather than a trial but the terminology is merely legal correctness. It has been an inquiry to establish before a Judge the fitness or unsuitability of the Baynes as parents of the three children born to them. It is on the other hand an inquiry as to whether the Ministry of Children and Family Development have acted reasonably and justly in their handling of the case, of the children and of the relationship one should expect the MCFD to develop with the birth parents. The Baynes have contested all along that they did no violence against their infant child of six weeks, now two years and nine months old. But if they had, should it not be our expectation as citizens, that our Ministry of Children and Family Development would do all that it can possibly do to restore and repair and redeem parents, to restore family. Nothing like that has happened. MCFD’s posture toward the Baynes has been adversarial from the get go. The hard copy assessment sheets, the reports, the testimonies now in court reflect this posture.

Did it need to come to this? As taxpayers we should be able to confidently assume that it wouldn’t come to this unless birth parents were verifiably sadistic, immoral and criminal. After all, mercy and mediation are in the vocabulary of the MCFD in theory and on paper. MCFD offers a Mediation Program. This is what MCFD says about their own program.
“The Ministry of Children and Family Development and Ministry of Attorney General partnered in 1997 to establish the Child Protection Mediation Program. Where there is a disagreement between MCFD and parents or other persons concerning the safety and well-being of a child the parties can agree to use mediation to resolve issues, rather than go to court. Common issues include:
• what services the family will receive and participate in as part of a plan of care,
• the length of time the child will be in the ministry's care,
• the amount and form of access parents or others have with the child,
• the specific terms of a supervision or access order, and
• other matters relating to the care or welfare of the child.”
It further states: “The Ministry of Children and Family Development is committed to a presumption in favour of collaborative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and family group conferencing, as a first choice for child welfare decision making rather than proceedings in Provincial Court.”
“For more information about the Child Protection Mediation Program, visit the Dispute Resolution Office website or the Ministry of Children and Family Development website.


  1. Searching mediation in this blog brings up several hits.
    The most relevant for my comment is the last one that appears in the search blog as one of the very first entries, #2 dated October 16, 2009, dated a couple days before Kent's 5th birthday.

    Let's hope the case will be over by the time Kent has his 6th birthday while he is in his parent's care.

    According to bog #2, May 16th a supervision agreement arrived at through a mediation process was signed for the boy's return, the condition being the Baynes move out of their new home in Hope to their parent's home so that the children would be in full-time supervision of their grandparents.

    Mediation with the Ministry, it is my understanding, it a prejudicial process proceeds with the understanding that there is an agreement between the parents and Ministry the children are in need of protection and the next step is to hammer out a supervision order by agreement (ie. the children are found to be in need of protection) to determine how to reduce the danger to the children and resolve concerns.

    May 15th the Baynes conducted an interview with Global TV, and that was aired a few days later on May 19th and 20th.

    On May 21st, the day after the story aired, the Ministry announced the boys would be removed. The didn't perform this removal until three weeks later.

    June 12th 2009, at Baden's birthday party in the home of the grandparents, the Ministry forcibly removed the two boys with police officers present.

    Recall that TV news story was cited as the sole reason for removal, that publicity, putting the children's face and identification on TV has harmed them in some fashion. The grandparents in allowing this to happen is deemed no longer trustworthy.

    So, mediation in my mind is simply a Ministry mechanism to prejudice the determination that children are in need of protection. In my case, I discussed the possibility of mediation with a fellow, he gave me the pamphlet (which summarized that mediation occurs generally after the children are found in need of protection, ie. parents agree to a supervision order).

    I said fine, the children, the social workers, myself and the mediator would be present. He said, that would not work. He wanted other people involved, neighbours perhaps, relatives, friends. The process this fellow described would be the "concerns" would be discussed with these people. In other words, the unproven allegations. It was necessary to discuss the details of this, he said, in order to alert everyone in the room of the reasons for removal, and come up with a plan to ensure the children would not suffer further abuse.

    Because of privacy concerns, the Ministry needs a parent's permission to release such allegations to third party, which mediation implies. This is the point. To paint the parents as abusers and to be able to repeat inaccuracies of intake reports to third parties inside the protected, unrecorded confines of a mediation room. The proceedings of any mediation cannot be used in court, so an audio recording would not be admissible evidence in court.

    You will recall the first thing Judge Crabtree did was to permit publicity in this case. This upends the Ministry argument that publicity alone was harmful to the children.

    The next point is did the parents have the right to publicize matters. I don't know if the mediation agreement and supervision order specifically said publicity would result in removal. If it did, I can well imagine there was enough time for the Baynes to ask the TV station not to air the story. They could also have asked the Ministry if it was ok to publish the story on TV. They could also have asked to postpone the story and include the fact an agreement was reached and the boys were returned. Sort of.

  2. Mediation is nothing but a waste of time. Parents rarely ever agree with MCFD and not only that but they use it as a means of trying to convince the parents to consent to their orders. In all the cases we've seen, mediation appeared to be used to prolong the court process or actually prevent it from going to trial and while some people may think that's a good thing, it is definitely not. Parents need to be able to defend themselves against allegations made. Parents may get the chance to state bits and pieces of their side of the story at mediation but it in no way compares to trial. We have been through this process with so many people and have only seen good results maybe once or twice. Because the parents almost always disagree with MCFD, cases quite often have to go to mediation first which means the child is in care for that extended period of time. Mediation might take three months and, if nothing comes out of it, it's another three months before trial. Before you know it, the child has been in care six months.

  3. A parent came to me for help. The parent had gone to MCFD saying a break was needed from the special needs child. The single parent of a highly special needs child worked round the clock to keep the child healthy and safe but wanted a little respite. The social worker suggested voluntary care stating that all the parent needed to do was give seven days notice in writing if the parent change their mind about it. After two days of the child being in care, the parent realized that it was a mistake and gave the seven days notice in writing. At that moment, the social worker said, 'due to your inability to make decisions and stick with them, we are removing the child.' The child was placed in care and because the parent didn't agree with the decision, it was a three month wait for the mediation date. Nothing came out of the mediation and it went to court several months later. Social workers stated in court that because the child was doing so well and had been in care so long, it was best to leave the child in care. And that's what happened. There were no complaints against the parent before asking for help.
    Minor details have been altered for the protection of people involved.

  4. True enough Ron; but the wording is to use mediation "rather than going to court". By the time it gets to court one is already in an adversarial position because the ministry has laid a complaint stating that your child is in need of protection. In a situation where they say you hurt your child and you say that we did no such thing, mediation is ridiculous. This is what happened to the Baynes. If you say yes we agree that our child was at risk that day, but the circumstances were unusual. For instance when you did not get back on time and the baby sitter had to go. Then mediation would address, making backup arrangements next time you hired a sitter.
    Mediation is otherwise only appropriate as a voluntary action with no court involved. As soon as the ministry goes to court, it is mediation between the lamb and the wolf. Anyway, mediation does not belong in the act, but belongs in core training. (Core training---what a pipe dream.)

  5. Mediation comment 2/2

    This second removal of the boys, and the 3-week delay and the birthday party timing simply sit well with me. The Ministry has emergency facilities for instant removals while they wait for a foster care placement to open up, so why didn't they remove the boys on May 21st as they said they would instead of waiting until June 12th?

    To me, the answer is obvious and reprehensible; the people involved in the removal wanted to make it as traumatic as possible in an attempt to deliberately anger the family and to demonstrate to these powerless parents how easily they could punish them.

    Social workers are not judges. Their job is to collect relevant information, bring it before a judge, who then stakes his reputation and experience of many years it took to become a judge to make a decision based on hearing both sides of the story.

    A social worker makes the same as grade school teachers and have less experience with children, but are given judge-like powers of removal that parents really have no chance to prevent.

    Mediation is supposedly the watch word of the Ministry to avoid such drastic action, so the problem here is failure to utilize this process. Exactly how difficult is it participate in good faith in this exercise? The Baynes clearly participated in mediations on good faith, while the Ministry has reneged on their agreements and have refused to negotiate further in contravention to the CFCSA and the Ministry's own guidelines.

    Precisely this sort of behaviour is what you sue the government for in a jury trial and you get millions of dollars so this will not happen to other families. This is an unspoken thought no one cares to mention, but I believe is the driving force behind the Ministry's no-holds-barred behaviour.

    If Judge Crabtree finds that two, or none of the three Baynes children in need of protection, the Baynes can sue the Ministry and the medical establishment. This action will protect other families from overzealous ministry employees from making up abuse criteria so they can remove children.

    This is what the Ward Cameron "victory" is all about. If police make a decision to strip search anyone deliberately choosing to degrade that person, they can be subject to a $5,000 fine. Cameron's leg work on this matter now streamlines this aspect of accountability for police by citizens.

    The police officers, as are social workers themselves are personally immune to liability because they were "just taking a precaution," but since it turns out their decision was wrong and a member of the public was harmed as a result, their employer, the taxpayer foots the bill.

    The corrective action that ends up saving the taxpayer in the long run, as the employer simply amends their internal policies to avoid "unnecessary" strip searches of citizens in the future. The corrective "due process" is there if parents have the fortitude to follow through.

    Given the subject of today's blog, Mediation, it is clear the government has had plenty of opportunity to come to an agreement on multiple subjects, but have elected to fight instead, at a cost to the family that is incomprehensible, and at a cost to the taxpayer and other children that is not justified.

    A recent example of MCFD avoiding mediation is not agreeing to allow the Baynes to spend more time with their children. MCFD lost on that one. The benefit to other parents now is that they can now use this precedent as a basis to for other parents to more easily secure the same amount of paid supervised visitation time with their children, with, or without a CCO hanging over their heads.

    This previous return of the boys by MCFD completely undermines their argument for a CCO today, so as far as I can see, the Ministry is hooped, and they know it.

  6. I lost my two kids in June of this year to MCFD. It turns out they were wrong and the case against me has been dissolving. We have mediation in August. They are still also going ahead with a protection hearing as well as mediation. I think MCFD has become 'court happy' well beyond any common sense.

  7. Mediation is a process even more kangaroo than the "child protection" legal proceeding in court. It is nothing but another sugar coated poison often used to stall legal process and to lengthen the child holding period.

    Parents new to this may think that mediation is less formal, more parent friendly and requires less legal representation. Wrong. When mediation is offered, they are up to something. Decline it, if possible, and insist to resolve the differences in court.

    As long as MCFD has the power to remove childre from their parents at will, any kind of consents from parents deviate from the spirit of contract law as it is like pointing a gun to force parents to agree to a contract, ie. one party consents when under duress.

    The practice of "child protection" law has brought the administration of justice into disrepute for a very long time. It is time to stop this fiasco.

  8. Here is what the judges, lawyers, social workers, and MCFD employees who enable or perpetuate this gross injustice against children and families must consider:

    Never in history has such anyone, ever, been spared from ignominy when it has been revealed that they have been a party to such grosteque, unjust actions.

    All judges, all MCFD lawyers, all social workers, all so-called experts who cause, through their inaction or action, the suffering of children and families, on such a vast scale, will inevitably face their Nuremberg. And what a fearful, disgraceful thing that will be. No salary, fee, or promotion could ever begin to compensate for what will happen on that day. And history shows, that day always comes. Always.

  9. To Anon 9:09 AM
    You wrote a paragraph that said "According to bog #2, May 16th a supervision agreement arrived at through a mediation process was signed for the boy's return, the condition being the Baynes move out of their new home in Hope to their parent's home so that the children would be in full-time supervision of their grandparents."

    I should make this clarification:

    The Baynes did not have a mediation restriction to live with Zabeth's parents. They were given their boys fully under this supervision order. The conditions were:
    1) That they would tell MCFD if they had to go to see the doctor with an emergency...
    2) They needed to inform MCFD where they were going to live
    3) The Baynes would allow MCFD access

  10. To: Anonymous (July 25, 2010 7:03 PM)

    Before your Nuremberg can materialize, a revolution is needed. Are you ready for this?

    Be mindful that the special interests you mentioned are those who control the government. Relying on a government controlled by these perpetuators to grant justice is unrealistic, although I long for this day to come.

    On another note, those who have difficulty to believe that "child protection" is financially motivated should read a book titled " Forced Adoption" (Ian Josephs, the UK)

    There are dollar figures granted to county governments on page 56 and 72 (of the free pdf version).

    Note that the issues raised by the author are more or less the same as those from oppressed parents in BC and all over the world.

  11. Wow!! guys, we are moving strongly ahead by the tone of the letters the last while. This is wonderful!! This blog is having terrific impact and gathering momentum. Ray Ferris, keep writing. For most, these letters are revelations and therefore, powerful to the public.

  12. What is happening right here on this blog is a revolution, of sorts.

  13. Anon 9:49 PM July 25th wrote about Ian Joseph's book "Forced Adoption" and gave a link. That link is invaluable since it introduces you to someone who writes about the injustices in Britain that are frighteningly similar to all that writers are telling us in BC and Canada and the USA today. The child removal/adoption cycle is systemic to modern child protection. It is missing key ingredients like grace, mercy, compassion that are integral to any human community. And it is missing precisely in the Ministry that requires it most.


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