Wednesday, July 21, 2010

THE PRISON OF SHAME / Part 254 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

The lives of many social workers involved in child protection are sprinkled with satisfaction and regret. The regrets are sometimes crushing. Regrets may evolve from actions or failures to act. Some social workers spend sleepless nights. A therapist might counsel such people to move on because this is life. It is not so easily done. Some regrets are intensified as time passes because the circumstances created by action or inaction have become infected for the affected people. At these times social workers experience deep regret or sadness and this can have a profound effect upon their lives and their well being.

Some things can be done when feeling one’s saddest. It’s important to honestly decide how much blame should be attached to your role or your action or inaction. Assess whether you could also claim credit for some positive action. Can the situation created by your part be remedied? Would an apology help and would it be enough? If it could be sufficient then genuinely make that apology. A letter is definitely superior to an email message and best of all is a face to face meeting. Beyond this a public apology may be advisable, appropriate, and necessary. May amends be made? Might it require your resignation? Might this take the form of advocating for parents and families who are being injured by actions similar to those that have become your prison?


  1. "Risk assessments, parental involvement, extended family program, collaborative practice" are modus operandi, not alternatives to protect children. Note that current law (CFCSA) has already stipulated that next of kin or extended family is preferred placement after removal, which is often not followed. In the Bayne's case, extended family is available to look after their children. But MCFD chose to ignore this and place them elsewhere.

    Child removal authority compels parents to act defensively or even hostilely in many cases to protect their children from being dumped in foster homes. Involving parents in decision making with someone who has the statutory authority to remove their children at will is like pointing a gun at them and force them to agree with whatever SW has set up for them.

    Respect of parents is rare. Apology from SW is unheard of in reality. Why should CP SW respect parents when they know that they can walk over them like doormat without ramification?

    There is nothing new in the suggestions made by CW on July 20, 2010 8:31 PM (Part 253).

    Government had made several gestures of reform, like the revision of Social Workers Act, in the past that amounted to no change. They are not prepared to give up their power and change their tunnel view modus operandi. To those who seek reform in child protection, be skeptical.

  2. I googled "psychological profile of child protection social worker" and came up with a link to WikiPedia,

    Unfortunately, this page didn't give me any clues as to understanding what sort of person works in the child protection industry for any length of time.

    This wiki page is a fascinating read, I can't believe that I had not previously come across this before.

    The fundamental flaw that exists in the child protection is mentioned in the "Criticism" section of the WikiPedia page, which reads:

    "Responsibility for misconduct
    In May 2007, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found in ROGERS v. COUNTY OF SAN JOAQUIN, No. 05-16071[32] that a CPS social worker acting without due process and without exigency (emergency conditions) violated the 14th Amendment and Title 42 United State Code Section 1983. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution says that a state may not make a law that abridges "abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" and no state may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Title 42 United States Code Section 1983[33] states that citizens can sue a person that deprives them of their rights under the pretext of a regulation of a state."

    I'm not sure if there is a parallel in Canada, but there should be, perhaps someone else can point this out.

    Anyways, getting back to supporting the point of the article about social workers or their employers admitting any mistakes and apologizing, I personally have not encountered any such workers who have expressed regret, remorse or admission of error. They work to reframe themselves in a positive and noble light, which tells me that are satisfied instead with simply appearing to be noble souls and are quite happy to suspend reality.

    Watching Lorne Humany on the stand is fairly typical of my encounters with social workers. If one imagines a social worker thinking: "perhaps I should have talked to the people the parents suggested in order to get a more rounded picture of the family situation" and instead what comes out is "I didn't see the letters and was not made aware of alternate sources of information", which is essentially admitting professional incompetence.

    No wonder anything that most child protection social workers say is viewed with suspicion and distrust.

    I still wonder what sort of person continues knowing that most of the parents they work with revile them and their employer, always view them with suspicion and distrust, and outcomes for chldran are so dismal.

  3. To: Anonymous said... (July 21, 2010 8:34 AM)

    Thank you for this informative article from Wikipedia.

    In Canada, custody of one's own children is NOT a constitutional right. Government's authority to remove children from their parents is further affirmed in A.C. v. Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services), 2009 SCC 30 handed down by the highest court.

    Hence, the only option left to protect Canadian families from wrongful removals and atrocities like residential schools where groups of people can be targeted is to revoke child removal authority at the political level. Any change less than this is futile.

    Given the presence of other relevant statutes, revoking child removal authority given in CFCSA will NOT compromise real child protection.

    You want to understand what kind of people work in the "child protection" industry. They are not different from any civil servants who work for government. Keep their jobs by covering their behind, not rock the boat and follow their superiors to the teeth are typical.

  4. Outstanding post, Ron. Thank you for writing it.

    Anon 12:57 - I never claimed my post was anything "new." Just stating, parental collaboration/respect no matter the issue is an absolute must.

    Based on my experiences today...families have every bloody reason to distrust SW's....and yet there is no reason for the families to be put in this position. Rant over.

  5. Social workers are likely more qualified than judges to anticipate the potential for attachment damage done to children removed from homes for just a short period of time, let alone over a period of months and years.

    Consider: a rape victim is punished throughout their lifetime with a traumatic memory of just one violent such attack that lasts moments.

    The Baynes two oldest children of whom no concern was expressed in their parent's care were forcibly removed, at, of all things, a child's birthday party.

    Will these children associate birthday parties sometime in the future as a reminder of the traumatic event? Will they fear uniformed authority figures that removed them?

    This sort of action, the birthday removal, is deliberate planning on the part of Ministry officials; how best to maximize trauma on the family. Imagine the taxpayer-paid planning meetings that must have gone on before executing this revenge against the Baynes.

    There is no room for apology here, Ron. These actions of public servants go far beyond apology. Without reservation I say that these are criminal acts. As they happen on a regular basis, these are crimes against humanity. Unless you personally go through this, I do not believe it is possible to fully grasp the magnitude of injury that occurs.

    I did plenty of reading before my children were removed, and saw the horror stories, but these simply did not sink in as being relevant to me.

    People capable of inflicting this level of torture on another human being in the course of their work simply should not be employed in any form of public service that involves the public. They do not deserve the opportunity to apologize because these are not momentary lapses of judgmen, this is premeditated planning and a misuse of their expertise and power. They should be cleaning the streets and public toilets earning minimum wage and avoiding all interaction with people.

    Young children can appear to bounce back quickly and adjust, but years later you will often see the effects of this early damage, in the form of poor school grades, failed relationships, due to perhaps, lack of abiity to attach to others propery.

    This business that social workers and judges operate under the misconception that they removal decisions are based on erring on the side of caution. As a psychologist mentioned to me, this is a misnomer.

    Research tells use that erring on the side of caution would mean not risking damage to the child's primary bond with the parents by not removing children in the first place, as a first resort.

    The statistics supporting these negative outcomes are available on MCFD's own website. Listen to the stories from children and criminals on the street that come from foster homes and have history with child protection or welfare officials. Only the strongest families can survive this intervention.

    The one commenter who was victimized by MCFD and has served to help thousands of parents navigate the system likely can relate some of these stories. Josef, who has bravely posted his name, has mentioned through his experiences the damage the "child protection process" is responsible for.

    I find it difficult to believe that child protection authorities claim that it is not possible to protect children through monitoring by allowing the children to remain at home. This is the best time to acquire accurate information for a risk assessmnt. An independant and accountable court-recognized psychologist the parents agree to should be conducting these risk assessments not social workers with an agenda. Otherwise, the data gathered, as Ray Ferris suggests, is useless.

    It is, however, much easier for me to believe there is far less work for a social worker involved who does not want to visit the home each week. A higher case load with less effort is the benefit.

    Any apology must come from far higher up the ladder than a social worker, and must include the actions of accountability taken and a vow the same thing will not happen again.

  6. ANON at July 21, 2010 1:58 PM

    Very well said. I couldn't agree with you more. And you haven't gone too far at all by claiming these are crimes, and crimes against humanity.

    The trouble with writing and talking about child protection is that a person can never truly capture the magnitude of the horror they subject children and families to. To the uneducated, it looks like hyperbole. To those in the know, it always falls short, even when brutally damning.


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