Tuesday, July 20, 2010
WADDIFS AND HOWELLS / Part 253 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/
Yet that was only the beginning. There followed mediation meetings when progress seemed negligible because parents would not admit to harming their child and no questioning or coercion could extract that admission. The RCMP dismissed the adequacy of evidence sufficient to proceed with a charge of assault or abuse. The social workers committed themselves to gaining that admission and without that admission no kind of plan or help was forthcoming. Social workers and parents became adversaries. Altruistic spirit, compassion, concern for what the parents were experiencing did not occur at the time. The parents were, or at least one of them was viewed by MCFD as perpetrators responsible for injuring a child. Certainly MCFD had come under fire in recent reviews because ministry responses had come too late to save some children from harm that proved fatal. It is understandable that the Director did not want to repeat such a debacle in his region.
Yet as these months and now years have passed by, as media coverage from time to time has dramatized the claims of the parents that their infant was misdiagnosed and they have been placed falsely under suspicion as abusers, there has been increasing reason for many hundreds of people to believe that this is a miscarriage of justice. The Ministry however was committed initially to the medical diagnosis by a doctor from Children's Hospital and has staunchly maintained that position which means that the Baynes can never deliver themselves from the blacklist of parents who do not deserve their parents. There is a great deal of evidence now that the Ministry has made every effort to cast the parents in the worst possible light by the reports that describe them. That's the way it appears to some of us who observe from outside the system.
I think however that there are social workers who have been second guessing their involvement in this family story. They have followed the directives of their Director in the interpretation of observations and reports and writing of affidavits. I believe there are social workers who wonder even now What If (Waddif) we had done things differently, and How Will (Howell) we make this right? I think consciences are working overtime with regret.
Oh of course there are myriad waddifs and howells now.
Waddif the children are awarded to Paul and Zabeth and they must be returned immediately?
Howell the Director and our lawyer respond?
Waddif the Judge castigates the way MCFD handled our case with the Baynes and mentions specific people by name?<
Howell my peers, friends and family respond to this?
Waddif the censure by the Judge is so pronounced that a recommendation for overhauling the Fraser Region of MCFD is made as part of the ruling?
Howell this affect my job?
Waddif the law permits the Baynes to sue the Ministry and sue individuals into oblivion?
Howell I defend myself and how will I come out of this?