Thursday, July 8, 2010

SUSTAINING THE FAMILY'S PLACE / Part 243 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

On this blog site most observers familiar with the Ministry of Children and Family Development agree that the child protection activities are in crisis. MCFD knows how to seize children. MCFD doesn't want to know how and when to give them back. Parents and social workers alike agree that too many children remain in foster care for too long. Most people who pay attention to child welfare in British Columbia, concur with this viewpoint and complain for good reason.

While I dedicated this blog for the past nine months to advocating on behalf of Paul and Zabeth Bayne and their three children, all of you have been making it amply clear to all readers that the Baynes are only a sampling of the families who cry at night in separate living quarters. The Bayne children exemplify the thousands of children confused by their changed life situations. They wonder with fear about their families, their futures and their parents' love.

None of us disagree that aggressive measures are required to protect children from parental abuse and neglect. But here is the thing. Many broken families are bearing the evidence that there is an aggressive default protection policy operative within MCFD that removes children from their biological families and places them for adoption. Does anyone else in the real world think that this is an appropriate solution for the children who may be at risk in their homes? Child Welfare within this province must be pressured to reduce reliance on out-of-home care for children so that their own families may successfully raise them. I have become persuaded that MCFD is unjustifiably dismissive of the potential for preserving and restoring families when the appropriate resources are made available. Would not our society prefer to see resources poured into helping parents and children remain as families rather than pouring that money into foster care provisions with all the spinoff ramifications. As long as we are silent about our Child welfare system that is philosophically committed to removing children and retaining children without investing hope into the minds, hearts and lives of parents who are now appalled by grief and powerless to regain their parental rights, we aid and abet an inhuman treatment of our fellow citizens. News agencies, please pay attention here.

Oh its not my problem!
That's how we rationalize it, some of us.

And if our political representatives and legislators similarly leave the office each day to go home feeling that children victimized by a child welfare system gone awry is not their problem, we will talk idly about this into the next decade.


  1. Kinship ties and a child's attachment to the extended family are defined as a guiding principle in Section 2(e) of CFCSA. However, like most guiding principles, it is seldom followed. Removed children are placed in foster homes. Why? To exact maximum punishment on parents to beat them into submission. At the same time, creating more business for a true beneficiary in the "child protection" industry, who receives payments from government a lot more than parents on welfare. Foster parents are instrumental to the success of the industry.

    When the fundamental guiding principles are not followed by all service providers and the judiciary, what option is left? Kill CFCSA. This act creates more problems than it solves.

    It is safe to contend that our politicians go home each day feeling that children victimized by a child welfare system gone awry is not their problem. As a matter of fact, they would very much prefer not to discuss this problem and to turn a blind eye to those who seek reform. An Anonymous writer had shared his/her experience a few days ago. If you don't believe this, try contacting your MLA and learn it yourself.

    Many of us here believe in democracy. What else are you prepared to do and how far?

  2. There you go with the financial, industry rhetoric again.
    I am not convinced that you really believe this.
    I understand anger and what generates it.
    I am equally convinced that such a game plan will not develop into a successful approach to change of a system we all do agree requires serious remedy.

    In fact I am unclear what it is you are advocating in this latest comment. You say that killing the CFCSA creates more problems than it solves. Then what are your solutions?

  3. To: Ron (July 8, 2010 10:55 AM)

    I am not trying to convince you per se. You may believe in whatever you like and I respect that. All I see is that you keeping rejecting an answer that you don't believe or dislike. Do you have a better explanation of all these issues you raised? If yes, what is it and based on what evidence?

    Anger does not prompt me to conclude that this whole scheme is money-driven. Facts, data from reliable sources, common sense, careful observation and analysis over a 5-year period do. After all, anger of oppressed parents are totally justified.

    I did not say that killing the CFCSA creates more problems than it solves. I said this act (CFCSA) creates more problems than it solves. Read carefully.

  4. The Ministry knows exactly when and how to give children back, this is part of the problem. It is the variety of stories they feed parents, the public, and judiciary that would give rise to any observation they do not want to know when to return children, if at all.

    There has to be an agreement at the very least that the Ministry deliberately keeps children for as long as possible and they fill all available foster care spots.

    It is not necessary to discuss financial motives. The corrections to the system to reduce improper removals will obviously also reduce the outflow of taxpayer dollars.

    I think the mantra of the front line social workers is that the supply of 'services' are constrained, and that not funding these is the fault of their employers. So, lack of resources, finances, is cited by the Ministry and their employees.

    The only solution repeated is send us more funding if you want us to do a better job. Work smarter is not an option, apparently.

    From what I saw, and from answers to my questions, Social workers appear to be divorced from legal and foster care financing, so they don't see the overall large numbers, or any numbers for that matter, accumulating on a per-family basis.

    Front line workers can indeed very safely say finances are not motivating factors to "speed things up" or to deliberately drag things out, or as motive for removing more children.

    Their employers can equally safely say they are not constraining the valiant efforts of the front line workers by not alerting them that their decisions are costing taxpayers too much and they need to compromise child safety in order to save.

    Personally, I have not an ounce of difficulty believing the primary purpose of child protection is to burn through as much money as possible and to minimize the number social workers and services and maximize removals in order to do this. Larger families are best. Constrain services and supply to increase demand is a basic formula for financial success.

    This financial abuse theory is much more believable than a claim the ministry is infested with unqualified people that constantly make mistakes. It is the only explanation that I have come across that fits.

    The most fascinating thing I found to watch and listen to is how a social worker explains away suggestions such as, why not hire a "service" quickly, rather than wait 8 months for availability of overbooked service providers, and save thousands of dollars of foster care and supervision costs, and free up those facilities for children who have greater need.

    Or, how about I pay up front for this "service" hire the qualified individual that meets your criteria and lets complete this quickly. "No, that is not the way things are done. We have a process in place we must follow." I've seen parents buy their own services and offer this to their social workers who reject this and state more work is needed to address concerns.

    The reason for not closing my file immediately after withdrawing has absolutely nothing to do with finances, as all lawyers, foster care, supervision, services and health care have disappeared.

    The various reasons given in the one meeting: The post-withdrawal risk assessment has not been done yet so we can't give you any of your files. Freedom of Information will not work because files locked open for editing are not available Your case is a low priority. It's holiday season. It takes a whole day to do one risk assessment. No, your input in this process is not required. It takes on average two months to close a file. We have to interview your children without you present. My team leader is on holiday. We are busy with more important cases. Isn't it such nice weather we are having? I'm glad the kids are doing well. Can I go look inside that room over there?

    So, on it goes. From their vantage point, why knock success?

  5. Ron;I would like to continue with talking about assessment and carry on with the easier types of assessment. Last time I gave an instance of failure to thrive. Here is another one.
    A man with two children divorced his wife, who had a history of anorexia. Supported by the MCF, the woman got custody, but the older child, a boy, refused to live with her. On an access visit, the man was concerned about his daughter being so thin and took her to his doctor, who was very concerned about her condition. The mother's reaction was to go to court and get an order banning the father from taking the girl to a doctor again. On a later access visit the girl kept fainting and was thin and emaciated. A family friend, who was a professional social worker insisted on taking the child to a doctor. The girl was so malnourished that the doctor said that she was in danger and in a letter called it anorexia by proxy.
    The MCF declined to act when shown the letter, so he went to Victoria, but the top managers would not see him. A friend pushed him to go on TV and a local station aired the letter from the doctor. This got him and interview with the well-paid director of practice standards, who inisted that this was a medical issue and up to the mother and her doctor. She was adamant that the ministry bore no responsibility. When I asked her how she planned to ensure that the child got fed, she told me to butt out. After a long and expensive struggle, the father got custody and the daughter now thrives. Another example of ignorance in high places.
    Continuing with more complex assessment. My next topics are chronic neglect, chronic borderline neglect and chronic multiproblem families. All these categories have things in common. They are generally in the in the bottom ten percentile of income. They generally lack many normal life-skills and have poor eductional achievement and poor work histories. One does not have to seek them because they are a constant source of complaint from schools, health care personnel and other government agencies. Or they are always on ones doorstep requesting help with their numerous crises. Poor money management causes eviction through failing to pay rent, or electricity cut off in the middle of winter, There may be imprisonment or being thrown in the drunk tank and so on. The same lack of life-skills that makes them unfit parents, also keeps them poor.
    I would like to say a word about the relationship between poverty and child neglect. People do not neglect their children because they are poor and being poor is not a good predictor of child neglect. If one takes the bottom ten per cent of income earners, only ten per cent of these cause child welfare concerns. Put another way, 90% of the poorest people give their children adequate care. As most poor people care adequately for their children, all the more reason to help them by raising their incomes. A much better investment than the money poured into trying to help hopelessly unfit parents.
    Now why do I count chronic neglect as easy to assess? Because the evidence is hard to avoid.Home visits often show appalling living conditions with dirty children and filthy housecare. Then there is the constant stream of complaints I mention above. I have the impression that many social workers strenuously avoid seeing the obvious in these cases. When you have read files on dozens of these cases you can see that most of the kids left in this condiions come into care anyway when they get older, through behaviour problems or delinquency. People talk about prevention, but are short on specifics. It seems to me that if you really want to prevent further child neglect, you have to take the kids out of the neglect situation. You have to do this while they are still young enough to stabilise in good home care. A certain number of kids come into care from these cases by parental request in times of crisis. Then the care becomes long term because they never seem to get organised enough to ask for the return of their children. Continued

  6. Ron: I would like to say a word to JOsef Fischer.Thank you for calling me smart. I had not realised that I was. I can understand your cynical view of social workers. It is easy to criticise people if you have never walked in their shoes. I have walked many miles, or should I say kilomtres in those shoes and with much tougher conditions than the workers have nowadays. That entitles me to make criticism
    First, since doing advocacy work, I have found that in two out of three cases, the social workers were clearly in the wrong and the clients were being abused. However, in one out of three cases the actions of the ministry were clearly appropriate and at a good professional standard. In other cases the ministry did the right thing, but in a very aggressive way. So you see I must always keep an open mind and seek facts. I should mention that in advocating for foster parents, the ministry was badly behaved in evey case. I will cover this eventually.
    You are probably quite right. There are many decent social workers who do a good job, but they turn a blind eye to abuses by their colleagues. Unprincipalled, gutless? Then maybe I should also plead guilty. When I was a young
    district supervisor, I was sometimes appalled at what I saw on files tranferred in from other districts.I found that our mutual boss did not want to know about such things.
    Think about this. I had a wife, three young kids and a mortgage. I had my work cut out managing a large workload and trying to train my own staff and make sure they did not abuse clients. Under these circumstances, I was very careful not to getinto unnecessary battles. My priority was to make sure my own responsibilities were met.
    I do agree in one respect. I have not found social workers to be a feisty bunch on the whole and they are inclined to follow the path of least resistance.
    Even with their collective organisation like the BC Association Of Social Workers they have a history of being cautious and the battle for client rights has faded over the years. When I was a member, I several times tried to get them to do a little more than just to make pro-motherhood statements, but it was an uphill battle. Why do you not try contacting them?

  7. Would anyone be interested to know that God loves children and families? Would anyone be interested to know that Satan hates everything God loves? This is more than just a physical, social, provincial/national problem. This problem has spiritual roots. Satan only comes to kill, steal, and destroy. That is all he knows how to do.

    Canada was built on God's law, which is the right way of being and doing. That is why God Almighty is in the Canadian national anthem, then his WORD, THE HOLY BIBLE is in EVERY court room throughout Canada.

    Where are all the Bible believing Christians? We need to seek, interceed, fast and pray to break this demonic stronghold over this city, province, nation and worldwide as this problem is global.

    Victoria BC and Geneva Switzerland have the most satanic activity in the world.

    We need to wage spiritual warfare for our children and families...that's why Jesus came. He came to destroy the devil's work. That's why we pray in Jesus name to our Father God Almighty.

    Christians need to stop being doormats and stand up for justice and righteousness. What will move the mountain? Faith. God loves the simplehearted. And those who put their trust in Him, and Him alone.

    Jeremiah 1:10 See, today, I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.

    Jeremiah 51:19-23 You are my war club, my weapon for battle, with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms, with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver, with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and maiden, with you I shatter shepard and flock, with you I shatter farmer and oxen, with you I shatter governors and officials.

    Psalm 149:5-9 Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints.

    In Jesus name WE THE PEOPLE PRAY, Amen.

  8. It makes little difference whether the CFCSA exists or undergoes revisions. MCFD, their lawyers and social workers do find ways to work around the wording of the CFCSA anyway.
    Laws need to be put in place that don't only protect the parents and don't only protect the children but rather protect the family as a unit. Laws that allow MCFD to access information that any other organization would be denied, hurt the family unit by allowing unnecessary, old and irrelevant information into court which alters the judge's decisions. Allowing social workers to perform mediocre assessments and act on those assessments alters the decisions made by MCFD. Allowing social workers to act on allegations without evidence to back it up also alters decisions made by MCFD and the courts.

  9. Anon 11:24 AM
    I am not interesting in believing anything I want to believe.
    I want to believe and accept that which is true. So, while I am interested to hear and to process the financial primary cause, I find it a challenge to believe that all that I see being wrong, callous, unjust, unkind even malicious within MCFD is generated by cash. That strikes me as the easy answer. I would have to find myself saying, “I can't figure this out or I can't understand why a system acts this way in our culture and in so many other countries internationally, so it must be that it is dollar driven.”
    You see I am still of a mind that a majority of people enroll in social work programs and gain degrees because they sincerely have altruistic notions of helping people. I see Ray Ferris although retired now, reflective of a significant number of people who sought to do the right thing even when that right thing was difficult, painful and the beginning of the end of some family ties. I also know of a large cadre of social workers who have left MCFD and some who are still in it, who do their work while disagreeing with many aspects of the present MCFD. So, I conclude they are not dollar driven. So presently that budgetary/income rationale doesn't work for me, doesn't explain. I already have developed a jaundiced view of many levels of government. If I were to find out that the only reason children are removed from parents and other caregivers is to raise capital, I would be devastated. But I can tell you that if I were to see convincing evidence I would believe it and write it as you have. I am uninterested in painting rosy pictures when the subject is black or shades of grey. I am a realist.

  10. Well Anon 1:21 PM, I just answered another Anon and it may have been you but I am uncertain. You do speak to some of the same issues. What I want to say is that you give me much food for thought in this comment.


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