Thursday, September 30, 2010

REMOVE THE SECRECY / Part 324/ For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Don't rule on a family by rolling dice
Given the many voices of complaint through the years it is foolish and irresponsible to assume that there have been no miscarriages of justice within the family court system of British Columbia and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.  Professionals must make horrifically tricky judgments. And they are not always right. Even good and well intentioned people make mistakes. Miscarriages of justice must be addressed honestly if these systems are not to lose further public confidence. It is almost unbearable to observe the confusion and powerlessness of parents who are dumped into an arena of case workers, foster parents, supervisors, summonses, counsellors, reports and a turnover of costly lawyers who assist minimally before hurrying to the next case. Who will give attention to these miscarriages and when will it happen? A few of you were calling yesterday for a mass rally, a march to at least gain the attention of the media, the public and hopefully MLA's and Ministry of Children leadership. 

When reviewing the official and independent inquiries into the MCFD over many years and many journal studies and news stories, child protection looks like a social services disaster. Few of us have any idea what it must be like for parents in cases of alleged abuse, to be viewed by professionals as being guilty until you can prove your innocence; to be under such close scrutiny that you are virtually in the world of big brother. I ask you again to look at Robert Harrison's update yesterday on this blog.

B.C. added five new judges recently to assist the backlog of cases in provincial courts. Each week our courts endeavor to produce judgments consistent with strands of frayed information and imperfect relationships. Information has typically been concealed. Parents whose children have been taken away are fearful to speak about their cases lest they reduce their possibility of regaining custody. Even parents who have their children returned are reluctant to identify their comments publicly. Furthermore, media coverage of cases is forbidden. There has been an almost complete censorship of the world of “child protection” and that is why Judge Crabtree's ruling at the start of the Bayne hearing was significant. While the MCFD counsel applied for a news ban, that was denied. So why is not the media on top of this one. It's not bad enough news. It doesn't sell regularly. Whether the eventual ruling goes against either the Baynes or the Ministry will certainly be newsworthy - briefly. Such hearings as the one in which Paul and Zabeth Bayne have been involved are usually in camera, and these family court hearings generally have a lower standard of proof than criminal courts because they cannot send people to jail. But they can take children away and as parents will tell us, the loss of a child is a kind of life sentence. As to a lower standard of proof, try probability as a justification for the destruction of a family. What kind of society is it that will permit a government ministry and a judicial system to operate on the basis of probability rather than evidence? "We cannot prove that they did it, but they probably did." "We cannot prove they are a risk, but they probably are."

Permitting journalists into family courts even with some restricted reporting direction could keep both sides more honest. It might provide the innocent party a chance to cry for help and be heard. As it is, the media must be silent. What should occur is that the media can speak to what happened a decade ago but also to what is happening today, Thursday at Chilliwack Court when Ministry lawyer Finn Jensen completes his summation aimed at persuading the judge not to return the three Bayne children to their parents, ever.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Robert Harrison, the subject of Post #306 "Robert Glen Harrison Tried for $520 Million" on September 10, 2010 has written two comments today at that post. His case application is now before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Comment #1
Comment #2

A BASIS FOR DISCUSSION / Part 323 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

If we are to dialogue with people who can actually change the way things are, how can we best express what needs to be communicated? Here are some thoughts by which I meaningfully engage the subject of government involvement in child protection and specifically the removal of children from parents.

- As I think specifically of the British Columbia's Ministry of Children, there is a level of intervention that I recognize as being necessary to keep children safe in evidential cases of abuse or neglect by a parent or caregiver.
- I recognize the commitment and care provided by some MCFD social workers with high professional standards who ensure the protection of children in cases of abuse and neglect and those who work with families.
- Contrary to some who write comments here, given the two statements above, I cannot oppose all child removal situations by the MCFD.
- While the purpose of the Child and Family Community Services Act is to assist and support families and to remove children only as a last resort, I observe that child removals happen more frequently than that purpose would imply.
- MCFD child protection social workers do not consistently possess adequate investigative skills and some social workers exhibit callous attitudes toward parents with whom they deal. When parents feel that they are treated as criminals, which many do, that approach by a service provider is counter productive.
- MCFD regional office personnel and social workers at times display a judgmental and punitive attitude toward parents and caregivers. Unbalanced or biased investigations and risk assessments have distorted what is real and true. MCFD then persuades the court that intervention is essential for the child's immediate and ongoing safety. .
- The general population of B.C. expect that MCFD and the Family Court is acting in the best interests of the children but for many children removed and in care, their experience is unmistakeably damaging because they have been removed from their parents for months and sometimes for years. When removed from a loving and safe home, children suffer intense trauma and long term misery by being separated from their parents and siblings.

WHAT would you say?

By the way: Thursday Sept 30th, Finn Jensen resumes his case summation at 10AM to continue Ministry care of the Baynes' three children.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HOW HAPPY CAN YOU BE? / Part 322 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

How happy have you been?
During the past few years how much happiness have you known?
Can you recall moments of great happiness in recent months?
I have been happy. I am happy. I could be unhappy. I have been very unhappy at certain times in my life. My happiness varies of course, affected by me, mood, health and circumstances. But I am generally happy. I am fortunate. Yet what if the measure of my happiness had less to do with me and more to do with the actions of others that unavoidably crushed my happiness quotient. That wouldn't be fair.

A famous phrase of  The United States Declaration of Independence is "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and these three qualities are considered “unalienable rights” or sovereign rights of humanity.
An early champion of this philosophical view of human life on earth was John Locke in whose Essay Concerning Human Understanding written in 1693 wrote in Book 2, Chapter 21, Section 51 that "the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness."

So important is happiness that it has been made a science. During the past twenty years an upsurge of scientific studies have sought to discover the causes of “subjective well being” that is, discovering what makes happy people happy. There is some consensus about key factors that produce happiness and these will not surprise you. Communicating, Caring, Exercise, Getting in the Flow, Spiritual Engagement, Cultivating Strengths and Virtues, Positive Thinking: Optimism, Savoring, and Gratitude.

Lost in this new science or at least not obvious in this list, is domestic contentment. Examining these 7 factors however, informs me that Communicating hinges upon relationships. People are happiest with friends and family and least happy if they are alone. People Caring for others consistently enjoy good mental health, are  less depressed and have greater satisfaction. Regular exercise has a large effect on mood and mental well-being and mood. Getting in the Flow is involvement, becoming engrossed in creative and meaningful activity which produces self esteem and engagement and happiness. There is a close link between spiritual and religious practice and happiness. Significant benefit is derived from optimism because negative influences are viewed as temporary, limited and manageable. Gratitude interestingly causes people to interpret events uniquely and view life positively, hopefully.

Okay enough of the philosophy.

I have not spoken directly with Paul and Zabeth Bayne about the subject of happiness so what I say here is pure conjecture on my part based upon what I see of them, hear from them and read in their communications. Their happiness is inconsistent. It is certainly never at the level where they feel exhilarated in the morning and entirely fulfilled at night. They have moments of happiness and those are the 540 minutes each week that they spend with their three children. Imagine measuring that time in minutes for three years. That happiness is abruptly concluded at each of three weekly visits when the sad-faced wee ones are escorted by their contracted supervising custodian to the van that takes them back to the foster home. The rest of the time Paul and Zabeth are preoccupied by concerning thoughts that a government ministry can want to keep their children and will build a case against them to make this happen rather than build a means by which the children will be returned. And they are obsessed with thoughts of their children's happiness or lack of happiness because this same government ministry has misrepresented the concept of  'the best interests of the children,' and in practice is not doing the right things which would make for happiness for everyone.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I have heard that Chris Martell's 3 months of walking long distances to raise awareness and deliver appeals to the government has resulted in a letter from the Saskatchewan Minister of Social Services promising changes to the foster care system in which his youngest child died. Perhaps more details to come.

THE MAJORITY PUBLIC / Part 321 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

What does the public think?

Well the public has only limited information that is true.

Customarily the public has only what comes from a public news source like CBC.

Kathy Tomlinson has completed videod pieces on the Baynes' story well over one year ago and of course much of her information was supplied by the Baynes. They did provide her with verifiable documentation which she had opportunity to review and evaluate. Her videoss were exposes of a sort and critical of the Ministry of Children.

The public does not generally approve of the State removing children from their parents so when a story like this breaks, the expressions are predictable.

CBC encourages comments to its online stories and other readers can approve or disapprove, that is, thumbs up or thumbs down the comments. You should hear a few from,

The April 3, 2009 article called 'Ministry Disregarded Legal Advice to Return Seized Children', which received 102 comments and thousands of hits.

Trees Are Good wrote: “ This is a disgraceful example of how this government deals with the best interest of our most vulnerable citizens. Even after overwhelming testimony by their own legal counsel, they have still resorted to the political safety of rigid procedure. Return these children to the protection of the people who care about them most now!! Anything less is child abuse by the state!!” 174 thumbs up / 18 thumbs down

Deputy Dawg wrote: “Now if this isn't a winnable lawsuit I don't know what is.. being the father of a two year old I know what I would do to any bureaucracy that kept me from her on an unsubstantiated whim.” 121 thumbs up / 13 thumbs down

Rayser 213 wrote: “The Inmates are Running The Asylum! They can run but they can't hide! Justice Delayed is Justice Denied! When is this Agency going to think of the best interest of the Family & not protect itself from Courts?” 63 thumbs up / 7 thumbs down

ramont wrote: “paul & zabeth, i feel for you sooo much. i went through a painfully similar ordeal in the late eighties. it was horrible. our family has never completely recovered. we all paid a price. we temporarily lost our children, then regained them but with restrictions. we all still cry from the pain and memory. during that era it felt like a witch hunt. our lawyers at the time told us not to go public with it and I've always regretted listening to them. you are better having as many people aware and on your side. when these situations are kept 'private' there is more opportunity for further abuse of authority. all the power to you. do not back down. do not be intimidated. your love and the truth will win out eventually.” 50 thumbs up / 3 thumbs down

Mighty Rearranger wrote: “Wow! These two are getting a lot of airtime on CBC, I think I am getting fed up with the oh so obvious fake looks of concern and please pity poor old me from the mother!” 7 thumbs up / 55 thumbs down

Raphael Alexander wrote: "I hope that the parents get their kids back, and then sue the government for millions. And I hope they get every penny, even if it does come from our tax dollars. Perhaps they can heal after all this is over by suing the incompetence out of the government and squeezing them for every gut-wrenching penny of bureaucratic idiocy. The nanny state has become the child abusers. Hands off Big Brother!" 49 thumbs up / 6 thumbs down

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Child Welfare Enterprise in B.C./ Part 320 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Child welfare is not important to the general population. Young families live and love life and generally get on quite well. Why would they pay attention to the trouble we discuss here? It is only when one ordinary family ends up in the child welfare system that these few individuals learn how difficult life can become. Child welfare is also tough I believe for those who must work within it. Be patient with me here. The work load is increasing for each worker. From among B.C. children approximately 1 to 1.5 percent are in the care of the government. There is some ammunition for a few of you. After years of leadership upheaval it may appear now that the Ministry has achieved a turn around but who really knows. After all, from 2004 to 2006 there were four different ministers and when the Hughes Report was launched the Minister's position was being transitioned from Stan Hagen to Tom Christensen. Four deputy or acting deputy ministers served during this same period.
Build a Better Future - Reform MCFD

While government care most certainly is a safer place for some children than leaving them in their homes that is most certainly not true of the majority of removals. I am not going to back these remarks with footnoted references. Avid students can look up details as well as I can. My reading however leaders me to these conclusions. When the government is the sole guardian of children, the children's health is substantially worse than the health of children not in care. Childhood health concerns are common among children whether in or out of care but the rates of health issues for those in care is 1.2 to 1.4 times greater than those of the general population children. More alarmingly, 65 percent of children in continuing care suffer from mental disorders and that is where this Ministry of Children want to keep three Bayne children. Who can't see the connection here? That percentage is four times greater than that of children and youth in the general population. There are higher rates of both intentional and unintentional injuries for children in care and higher death rates as well.

I harvested some of these observations from a UBC publication. While published in 2007, if you want a comprehensive resource, access the “People, Politics, and Child Welfare in British Columbia.” Scroll to the index to select data.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

PARENT COACHING / Part 319 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Here is an fascinating service.
It is Parent Coaching. Have you heard of anything like it in Canada?

This is an Australian service. It provides psychologist services to people who are involved with community Services or the Children's Court, the equivalent to our Ministry of Children and the accompanying provincial court. Typical clients are parents whose children have been removed from their care. This particular coaching office provides individual counselling to parents who are involved with the child protection services of their region. It is counselling that seeks to help parents create positive changes in their lives so they can continue parenting their children. Further, while the cost is at least $100 per 60 min. session, these can be covered by the Medicare program as part of the Mental Health Care Plan, when there has been a referral to Parent Coaching by a medical doctor. Medicare covers these costs.

What do you think about this? You have picked up that in order to engage in these services, a parent must divulge to a personal physician a convincing case of mental or emotional incapacity, must accept that this will be part of the medical record, must concede significant need for change, must want to develop parenting and coping skills.

Among the benefits that proponents of Parent Coaching espouse, is the provision to such parents of the ability to deal with feelings of stress, depression and anxiety; to focus on what's important – namely, the children; to understand the child protection and court systems and how to work with them; to learn what mistakes other parents make when working with child protection workers; to develop skills to better work with one's caseworker to achieve goals; to learn new parenting skills to better manage children's behaviour.

There is even a Parent-coaching Institute offering a one-year, graduate-level, distance-learning Parent Coach Certification training program in collaboration with Seattle Pacific University's Department of Education.
1. Terry Carson works out of Toronto with her The Parenting Coach.
She can be reached at

2. Parent Coaching is also offered by Linda Aber out of her Tactics Resource Services in Montreal

3. Proactive Parent Coaching comes from Nova Scotia offered by Greg Bland as a means to assist parents in capturing the heart of their children. Reach him at

4. Dulcie Gretton, is a certified Parent Coach with a website called Renewed Parent. Her services are $100 per session and she recommends 8-12 sessions but there is no location information. A phone number is on the website.

5. Christine Kutzner Counselling offers family and parent-coaching in Vancouver
You can reach her at... Email:
Phone: 604-339-5774
Office: #210-1940 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver

Friday, September 24, 2010

Schedule Correction

The Jensen summation conclusion is scheduled for Thursday, September 30th 10 AM

Part 3 of 3 THE MINISTRY'S FINAL SUMMATION / Part 318 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This past Tuesday Mr. Finn Jensen was in court to deliver his final summation in the case of the Ministry of Children and Family Development versus Paul and Zabeth Bayne and Family, well technically that's not accurate. It is a hearing to determine whether the judge will grant an application by MCFD to keep the three children permanently.
I should advise you as a reader that every point which Jensen made will be challenged and countered in the written submission that is forthcoming from the Bayne lawyer following the conclusion of Jensen's summation.
As the morning began, Judge Crabtree wanted Mr. Jensen to deal with several outstanding matters, each cited on a prepared list by the Judge and for which Jensen was prepared. For instance, certain requests for information were made by Mr. Christie of two of the Ministry's witnesses during the hearing, and these were indicated as having been fulfilled.

With regard to Drs. Colbourne, Gardner, Sargent and Alexander, who had been permitted during the hearing to give testimonies for the Ministry as to nature of injuries but not as to cause of injuries and mechanisms because their expertise had not been established for those areas, Mr. Jensen now was advocating that their opinion evidence is relevant and necessary and should be accepted. On the other hand, Jensen sought to discredit the testimonies of doctors who disputed the Ministry claim of abuse by questioning the weight of their testimony given that they relied upon the explanation provided by the Baynes. He said that there is no evidence that Zabeth saw heads collide as the middle child fell on the youngest and he emphasized that Zabeth was the only parent to testify and that the court did not hear from Paul. (Fact: each of the defense experts examined all of the same medical records that were available to the Ministry doctors in order to arrive at their conclusions which contradicted the Ministry position, but did not dismiss the Bayne explanation out of hand.)

Several Binders that grouped categories of evidence were discussed as to their admissibility and relevance. For instance, A number of abstracts from scientific journals and presentations were used by Doug Christie to cross-examine Ministry witnesses. Jensen said these are relevant as long as the Judge pays attention to them only as to whether the witnesses agreed or disagreed with the abstracts' conclusions.

Another binder contained numerous medical assessments or followup reports on the baby through all the months post trauma event and these had been entered as exhibits and Jensen said that while these did not speak to the need for protection he felt that the judge in consulting the Act for admissibility could find them admissible as background.

Jensen made reference to many documents and reports that had been submitted during the hearing and made the point that these only had weight as they related to specific witnesses and their agreement or disagreement with content and that the documents were not stand alone evidence.

A binder of news and journal articles and blog postings submitted by the defense were discounted by Jensen as unreliable because they were not acceptable as evidence since they were merely a writer's review. Such material was not relevant, somewhat unclear, even dangerous, and certainly inadmissible and he went through individual pieces to make his points.

There was a binder of reports by defense medical experts and articles which Jensen went through doctor by doctor and article by article. He encouraged admissibility of some while questioning the weight to be given to them and with regard to others he advised exclusion.

Then there was the Defense’s binder of collected character support references which Jensen challenged because not one of the writers was called upon to testify in court, so their identities and credibility are unknown so these are opinion entities at best. (Fact: unlike the collateral testimonies to which MCFD did respond, no effort was made by MCFD workers to verify these character references so they could have some weight or that the truth about the Baynes' characters might be known to MCFD and the Court).

'Mount Baker from Point Roberts', 16X20, oil
He cited again the absence of evidence as the hallmark of the Bayne side and underscored that Zabeth Bayne was the only witness called upon in addition to the couple of medical experts who were either present in person or by video link.

The Rahman case about which I have written earlier had been raised by the defense but Jensen said this was merely news and not evidence of anything and should be excluded.

This concluded the unresolved issues after which Mr. Jensen began his summary proper for the duration of the afternoon, resulting in an adjournment at 4:30 PM until September 30th.
As I did yesterday, I conclude with this reminder. "This blog is in support of returning the children to Paul and Zabeth..." and that continues to be true even as I have objectively recounted today's information.
And always keep in mind that there is more to this story than meets your eye in this summation representation of the Bayne family ordeal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Part 2 of 3 THE MINISTRY'S FINAL SUMMATION / Part 317 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

As Mr. Finn Jensen began his summation proper he established for the Judge the foundation for the Continuing Care Order (CCO) by citing specific statements from the CFCSA, that is, the Child and Family Community Services Act for B.C.

The CFCSA contains Parts 1-9. Part 3 covers Child Protection and it is comprised of Divisions 1-7 with articles numbering from 1- 69.

First, understand that article 41.2.1 concerns a continuing care order, so 41.1.d states, “Subject to subsection (2.1), if the court finds that the child needs protection, it must make one of the following orders in the child's best interests” and the d. option states “that the child be placed in the continuing custody of the director.”
Jensen cited article 41.2.c which states “The court must not order under subsection (1) (d) that the child be placed in the continuing custody of the director unless … (c) the nature and extent of the harm the child has suffered or the likelihood that the child will suffer harm is such that there is little prospect it would be in the child's best interests to be returned to the parent.
Then Jensen pointed out that a CCO ruling by the Judge cannot be made unless the judge is satisfied that the child or children need protection and is determined by assessing the probability of harm to the children which has to be determined at the time of their removal which is between October 19-21, 2007.

Jensen emphatically stated that it is incumbent upon the Director to demonstrate probability, that is, that it is more probable than not, that there is a real likelihood that the parent(s) harmed their youngest child in 2007 and the risk has not been mitigated by admission or reasonable explanation for the baby's injuries. The severity of those injuries were recounted even as he acknowledged the disparity of interpretations of cause between the various medical experts whose reports or testimonies were submitted during the hearing. Jensen made the point that the experts who disagreed with the original SBS (Shaken Baby) diagnosis were contacted by Zabeth Bayne and that while they received medical records to review, they were also apprised of her story of one child falling on another, and in several of these cases the expert stated his professional opinion was that the injuries were consistent with such a fall. Mr. Jensen informed Judge Crabtree that he must resolve the matter of cause in order to determine if protection is needed and what order to issue. Jensen stated that these injuries were either accidental or non accidental and in the absence of a reasonable explanation for accidental cause of the the baby's injuries, there was definite risk. He sought to discount the probability that a toddler brother, clumsy and himself vulnerable by virtue of prematurity could fall on a baby lying on her tummy in such a manner as to cause the extensive hemorrhaging and skull fracture and leg fracture, and yet according to the parents' testimony, neither child demonstrably crying. Jensen pointed out that Zabeth Bayne was the only parent whose testimony the court has heard and that she herself while telling the story of the children's collision, head to head, did not see the actual collision. So this event, not seen is questionable he said and its date uncertain. Then Jensen put it to the judge rhetorically, “Who do you believe?”
Crisp Winter Morning 16X20 oil, Ron Unruh

I must say, I do not envy the Judge faced with this volume of documentation and the gravity of a decision that affects so many lives. That of course is a Judge's task and Chief Justice Crabtree has been here many times before.

On July 4, 2010 I wrote a blog post entitled, Continuing Care Order (CCO) / Part 239 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/  at the bottom of which I said, "This blog is in support of returning the children to Paul and Zabeth..." and that continues to be true even as I have objectively recounted today's information. Now back to my painting while we wait.
And always keep in mind that there is more to this story than meets your eye in this summation representation of the Bayne family ordeal.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

S.M died

And in the event that anyone doubts that similar concerns about child welfare and child protection services exist in other provinces listen to this CBC news report from Edmonton reporter Kim Trenacity.


They were within weeks of having to give their child over to the Ministry. Dana's videod story will touch your heart.

“Grateful and Giving Back” was the title of the piece in The Surrey Leader on Sept 15th in which the story of the Sears family was told. Then today Sept 22nd , a followup letter was printed in the Surrey/North Delta Leader which expresses the outrage many readers and citizens experience when the system that protects our province's children is so misinformed about what is in the best interests of a child that it does something as appallingly illogical as this. to make us wonder what vacuous people occupy foolish

Chelsea Haeber wrote the Sept 15th story about Joshua, 4, Mason, 2, and Carter, 1 and their parents Dana and Nick Sears. Chelsea told us that the middle child Mason, was born with an abnormality. We learned from her that Mason suffers from dysphagia, a condition that allows into his lungs any liquid that he swallows. The muscle that should close the entry to his lungs when he swallows is delayed but this cannot be corrected surgically because it is a neurological disability since his brain doesn't make the necessary connection. Further, when food enters his stomach it is not properly digested so his nutrition levels suffer and that affects his development. Mason goes to school with a five-pound black knapsack on his back containing a G-Tube, a medical bag filled with food – a beige liquid containing enzymes to help with digestion and a small pump, which sends 55 ml of the liquid into Mason’s stomach every hour. He wears this 21 hours each day. He could not live without this. Who gave it to him? Our government? No, no, no. And “Mason’s feeding costs are around $100 a day, that works out to $36,000 a year, and his feeding system needs a constant supply of feeding bags, tubes, syringes and valves,” Dana says. Who pays for that? Our government? Noooo!
“When Mason had his G-tube surgery, the Sears were told the costs would be government-funded. But because Mason never had a specific diagnosis of the underlying problem that causes dysphagia, he did not qualify for any of the existing funding programs – causing the Sears to go deeply into debt. Within two years, they lost their home, moved to a one-bedroom apartment and were preparing for another child.” (Leader story). They tried the government for help again, No go. Then President’s Choice (Superstore charity) and again a NO. But, Variety – The Children’s Charity took them on. Yeah for Variety.
The reader who wrote a letter to the editor processed the information this way and correctly. “For Mason to receive help from the government he has to be removed from his home and then the government will not only pay for his care, but for a complete stranger to take care of him.
 Surely Minister Mary Polak and Deputy Minister Dutoit and their teams, you must know that the policies that produce this kind of thinking must change. Surely you must agree that it would be wiser to pour money into this family's life while they are together rather than taking him away and paying foster parents and still paying for his medical costs. Or are you satisfied that a non-profit charity is looking after this. And in the event that this money one day dries up, will you then take the child away or assist the family? Can you understand why ordinary citizens become so upset?

Part 1 of 3 THE MINISTRY'S FINAL SUBMISSION / Part 316 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I will take the remainder of the week to tell this story.

We were allowed into the court room at 9:30 am. We easily filled the seats on either side of this smaller court room. As we waited for his Honour to enter I viewed the surroundings. On a large desk accessible to the Clerk were numerous boxes of filed exhibits and reports. On their side was marked F10073 CFCSA & Bayne.

This was September 21st, expected to be the Ministry summation by Finn Jensen and the final day in court for this case. Not so, it turned out. Jensen worked until 12:30 PM when Judge Crabtree recessed for lunch. We were back at 2:00 PM. By 3 PM we took an afternoon recess and for the second time that afternoon Mr. Jensen said he would move forward, skipping something in order to be done within an hour. At 4:00 PM Judge Crabtree asked Jensen how much more time he would require. Jensen replied, “two and one half hours.” The Judge withdrew for several minutes to discover when his schedule allowed him time to meet again and when a court room might be available. Mr. Jensen will complete his final summation on September 30th beginning at 10:00 AM.

In addition on the 30th, Judge Crabtree will hear the Ministry's affidavit for a change of visitation times for the Baynes with their children. That was served to the Baynes and to the Judge upon arrival today. The Baynes need to consult their lawyer and prepare an affidavit as well as be prepared to speak to this application. The Ministry Director has concerns that the children's schedules are very full now and three weekly visits of three hours each is difficult to arrange and hard on them. The proposal is one 3 hour visit and then 6 hrs on Saturday. The Judge had earlier increased to three visit days rather than two and for that reason the Ministry is seeking the Judge's ruling on this suggested change. The Judge may listen to this final summation and to the responses regarding the affidavit by video to accommodate his own schedule.

Little will be gained by me making strongly biased statements so will simply relate my court observations.

“Court is in session, all rise,” the clerk says as Judge Thomas Crabtree enters, laptop in hand and takes his seat. The Judge began by drawing attention to a list of nine items, unresolved issues which still required attention. Mr. Jensen's day might be tidily segmented into two portions, the first walking the Judge through those nine items to get them all out of the way, and then getting to his submission proper.

Finn Jensen demonstrated today that he earns his pay. He was good. I am not saying that I accept all that he says. With reference to exhibits and testimonies and reports and submissions made to the court so far, Jensen gave a well articulated, understandable, plausible and logical presentation of what the judge should permit as evidence and what he should reject. He carefully, no, make that artfully sought to distance the Ministry position from the much maligned Shaken Baby Syndrome (now called Non Accidental Brain Injury), to focus attention on the gravity of a couple of the medical findings with respect to Baby B in October 2007. Those injuries were extremely severe, he told us, and consistent only with non accidental injury. He sought to deflect attention away from Dr. Colbourne as sole proponent of the SBS diagnosis to tell the judge that this was a hospital team effort, a collaboration of expert assessments that resulted in a conclusion that the body of evidence pointed to abuse. At this point, knowing that earlier in the hearing, the CCO affidavit had rested fundamentally upon the SBS diagnosis of Dr. Margaret Colbourne, and listening to him wanting to divest the Ministry of this attachment now, I was struck with the possibility that Mr. Jensen was using word play or creative concepts to say virtually, “okay forget SBS because the injury factors alone are sufficient to convince you that this was not an accident.”

Beach Bikes, 9X11 oil on canvas, Ron Unruh
As a reader you may not approve of the team for which he plays or the way they play the game, but Finn Jensen is an extremely competent lawyer. He serves his client well.

More tomorrow. I would rather have been painting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TUESDAY SEPT 21, COURT DAY / Part 315 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This is it! We are back in court. The bottom line today, is that the Continuing Care Application is unfounded.

Our Canadian citizenry and society is enhanced by a comprehensive application of law to reprehensible acts of abuse of children. Child Abuse in all of its forms is punishable. The term “child abuse” refers to violence, mistreatment or neglect experienced by a child or adolescent who is in the care of someone they trust or depend upon such as a parent, sibling, other relative, caregiver or guardian. Its many forms are detailed at

Shaking a child, particularly an infant qualifies as abuse certainly. Whether or not it was a one-time or repeated act, it is nevertheless an offense and the guilty party must be held responsible. If one or both of them had injured their youngest child, there should be legal consequences.

Paul and Zabeth Bayne are not in court answering a criminal charge. When their daughter's health was threatened and medical staff theorized that her injuries suggested she had been harmed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were notified and performed their necessary enforcement procedure which included arrest and interrogation and investigation. The result was insufficient evidence to support and to proceed with a criminal charge.

Instead today, Paul and Zabeth are in court challenging a Continuing Care Order by an MCFD Director that is based upon a perceived risk which itself is founded upon the assumption that Paul and Zabeth are offenders, despite the RCMP conclusion of insufficient evidence. There was insufficient evidence back in 2007 and nothing has changed. It is still insufficient evidence. And why was it insufficient? Because it was based on a person's opinion, albeit a professional medical opinion. A medical degree does not convert opinion into evidence. It remains opinion. In fact while a shaking baby allegation was inherent in the medical diagnosis of their infant daughter in autumn of 2007, it turns out that the diagnostic title is unmerited and unfortunate. The medical findings were legitimate but their origin it turns out may be attributed to accident and/or medical conditions and not exclusively one source such as SBS which infers immediately a non accidental injury and a criminal offense by virtue of its title.

A perceived risk is not the equivalent of a criminal conviction and yet the Director's application expects the Judge to punish Paul and Zabeth as guilty and unrepentant perpetrators by ruling that the Director may keep their three children to the age of majority. Yet these parents posited the explanation that their daughter's injuries were perhaps the combination of the fall of a sibling on the infant and the inherent developmental issues of their premature children and the lengthy delays of medical examiners to identify the baby's issues when the Baynes first witnessed signs of her struggle.

Initial suspicion should long ago have been dismissed in light of the substantive medical evidence by other experts who disputed the SBS diagnosis and in light of the overwhelming character references and parental performance testimonies by scores of close friends. Initial suspicion should have been set aside in recognition of the inferior quality of the case worker's biased risk assessment which didn't reference any of this character support or the subjects' admirable attributes.

On this unsubstantiated hearsay we will spend most of our day today as Court reconvenes so Ministry Counsel Finn Jensen may bring his summation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

THE PARADIGM AND THE BAYNES / Part 315 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

The child-saving paradigm

Child welfare began in the last century as a sincere effort to rescue children from abusive or negligent parents and home situations. That was admirable then. Children were plucked from horrendous environments. Decades have passed and economies changed. Generations have come and gone and most parents manage parenting well and family life flourishes. A need still remains for resources targeted to children and families that experience difficulties. But what we seem to have perpetuated in our child welfare systems is the save the child paradigm. You rescue best if you remove the child. The child is hungry in the home? Take the child away. The child is inadequately clothed? Take the child away. For all the expertise and credentials and dollars we are throwing at child welfare, we remain anchored in this culture of salvation for the children by removing them from their homes and families. That is of itself so counter-cultural to ethnic groups who have come to Canada to live and thrive. It is counter-productive to homegrown citizens to whom life has dished out hardships and finding themselves unemployed or unhealthy or otherwise dysfunctional, instead of finding help from our heavy tax invested government ministries, find opposition and invasion of privacy and rights, and find harm that sends some over the edge. Aboriginal communities particularly have experienced the insidious results of child-saving philosophy. Not respecting First Nations families, our provincial governments in Canada have mistakenly removed many children on the premise of helping them, saving them. Is some of this being addressed now? Yes! But slowly and in small increments.

Child Welfare Enterprise in B.C.

Child welfare is not important to the general population. Young families live and love life and generally get on quite well. Why would they pay attention? It is only when one ordinary family ends up in the child welfare system that these few individuals learn how difficult life can become. Child welfare is also tough I believe for those who must work within it. The work load is increasing for each worker. From among B.C. children approximately 1 to 1.5 percent are in the care of the government. After years of leadership upheaval it may appear now that the Ministry has achieved a turn around. We are still waiting to see. After all, from 2004 to 2006 there were four different ministers. Four deputy or acting deputy ministers served during this same period. Then along came Ms. Dutoit and Ms. Polak and Ms.Turpel-Lafond and the system transformation plan.

Child Protection and the Bayne Family

Tomorrow counsel Finn Jensen will begin his summary statement to the Court. I intend to be there although I do not look forward to it. I wish to report to you the essence of this final day in court for this case. The treatment of this family over almost three years has been nothing short of an escalating disgrace. It has been a discredit to the good Transformation intentions that are birthed in Victoria's Ministry offices. I am convinced that the regional ministry suspects that they are losing this case. They have been scrambling. It's shameful and you may yet hear about it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Chris notified us today that someone trashed his deceased son's grave and grave marker and that, following receipt of hate mail. Chris is heartbroken and disgusted, wanting to give up on people. His friends all over the country are trying to encourage him.

A PHOTO IS WORTH ... / Part 314 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Baby B and Daddy in love
Baby B Looking Fantastic
Words cannot achieve what these images achieve. This is Zabeth's family after all, children she birthed.

Paul and Zabeth authorized my display of these family photos downloaded from her Facebook page where she posted them.

An A&W Date Night

It is the 19th of September and then 2 days remain until Ministry counsel sums up the case for keeping the children away from their parents.

Which girl will win? BOTH!

The Bayne family make the most of the few hours per week that they are permitted to be together. They should not still be apart.
Dad and his Lads

Cool Drink in a Frosty Glass
The Family that Plays Together
Visitation is always supervised by someone hired for this task of delivering the children to the visitation site and then staying with the family and providing a report of the visit. Paul and Zabeth snap these visual memories of the visits as often as they can. the children have developed and grown so much over these past three years.

Since Judge Crabtree extended access hours from two days to three days per week, one of these days has become a community visit, that is at a venue away from the customary visitation centre and this has been freeing and fun.

Like you, I cannot imagine how these two parents cope with the daily and weekly strain and pain of this disturbing reality - a Ministry still determined to break up the family permanently. They survive by God's comfort alone, is what they would say.

What a great Story

The ministry says it still has concerns. What concerns? Certainly not concerns about the best interests of these children.
The End of the Story is Coming Soon
Concerns that one or more parents hurt the baby girl? Only the judge's ruling can put that to rest I suppose. Until then, suspicion rather than evidence fuels the CCO application. Until then a medical diagnosis that has been seriously questioned and weakened are the underpinning for the application. Until then, an obviously subjective and skewed assessment of these parents maligns their character.

These are children who should be with their parents. They must be returned.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

WHEN CHILD PROTECTION IS WARRANTED / Part 313 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

It's the 18th. Then three more days until the last court day of the Bayne case.

A 6 year old boy has been injured many times before. The most recent occasion on September 8th was severe enough that he went to neighbours asking for help. They did the right thing, notified police and child and family services. The boy had a cut on his chin and a broken arm. Further examination has shown numerous other old injuries sustained by this boy, fractures to his ribs, both arms, a foot and the skull. There is speculation that he was beaten with a mop or broom handle. He ran away from home three times in August.

He finally told authorities what was happening to him at home. CFS has since removed the boy from the couple’s care, as well as his 18-month-old half-sister, who did not have any physical injuries. The girl is the daughter of the boy's 24 year old mother and her 32 year old common-law husband. The couple was arrested September 14th. She faces charges of assault causing bodily harm, two counts of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and assault for earlier incidents between December 2009 and Sept. 8. He is charged with aggravated assault, uttering threats, assault with a weapon, assault and a probation breach for the same period. Each also faces a charge of failing to provide the necessities of life for allegedly not getting the boy medical help.

Now that is why we need both of these agencies, police and child protection in our communities. So as much as we want to and should complain about the abuses resident within systems that have such sweeping powers, let's be real and acknowledge that not all moms and dads or caregivers are responsible or trustworthy.
I don't want to see this mother on my blog site complaining about child services taking her children. Ever!
Video and News Links:
CBC video news report:
Winnipeg Free Press article
Sept 18 Free Press Update

Friday, September 17, 2010

CHANGEMAKERS PLEASE STEP FORWARD / Part 312 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Countdown: It's the 17th. Four days from now, is the final Court Date for the Baynes. 
Yesterday I alluded to the purpose of this particular blog.
I return to this point because there seems some confusion.
The GPS blog began as a personal commentary on life and times and issues filtered through my wide angle lens (wide angle defined by age and experience).
When in September 2009, after years of not being in communication with one another, I learned about my friends Paul and Zabeth Bayne and the distressing life to which they have been subjected, the blog became a daily recital of their pain. I couldn't help myself. Their story needed to be told, frequently.

Familiarizing myself with their case raised concerns about which I had to write - concerns about the operations of child protection in my area. People did read the blog, not many, but a few and they seldom commented.
As everyone knows, exposure to one complaint against child protection services leads rapidly to other cases. The concern intensifies. It was staggering to realize that protests against child removals and unjustified sustained time in care was not exclusive to the Fraser region but existed in all provincial MCFD regions, in all provinces of Canada, and furthermore, in the U.S.A and the U.K, and other countries.

The subject matter for me has remained focused upon this one family's ordeal but it has included numerous side trips to broader issues that pertain to any government's involvement in the care and protection of children.
As I continued to write, readership increased and comments accumulated. I realized there was an audience consisting often of people who have been deeply injured by a government agency and who need an avenue to express their anguish. The comment section of this blog has often been an expression laced with bitterness but it is understandable given the helplessness that contributors feel.
There are many more online blogs and websites where these topics are discussed angrily, even offensively. While I understand the emotion and disgust associated with the issues, I purposed to use this blog to discourse openly, honestly and respectfully the relevant subjects and insisted that comments be added with a comparable courtesy. 

Inherent to my approach is the awareness that society has troubled people, dysfunctional families, adults with addictions, people with histories of abuse, people who did not plan to have children, didn't want children, shouldn't have children. There are children who are angry, maligned, bitter, injured and unhappy. Someone must help all of these people. I accept that one of the first orders of action for our society must be protecting the most vulnerable, and therefore safeguarding children. Who else but our government is in a position to do this?  I don't like that particularly, but the church isn't doing it, and I don't have greater confidence in private institutions. It is not a quantum leap for me to accept that removing a child is sometimes imperative. It is not difficult for me to accept that there are principled and good foster parents who genuinely care for children and youth. I have no difficulty appreciating that many social workers are motivated by a sincere desire to help people. Therefore I welcome the comments of people who can speak from experience as children, parents and workers within the child protection network, can speak to the glaring problems, can speak to the past as well as the future and can make recommendations for change. 

The result has been a readership that is international. Big deal. It doesn't change anything. The change-makers are the people who have gone beyond talking about the problems within the child protection and care programs to organizing concerned people in such a way that help is provided to those victimized by these systems and in such a way that politicians must pay attention.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Michael Grimm

Michael Grimm, the new America' Got Talent champion and $1,000,000 winner, was poor. Grew up in Mississippi and he and his sister lived in a very disadvantaged situation to which details have not been furnished by Michael, but he and his sister were about to be put into foster homes. His Grandma and Grandpa stepped up and became their caregivers and nurturers. That was years ago. Michael is 30 now. There is an unquestionable love between the children and these grandparents, who lost everything in Hurrican Katrina. Michael grew up singing and playing guitar, no wonder, because he is blessed now with a remarkable soulful voice. His audition was the performance of a superstore and last night he won it all. It's a great story. The link is a video of the first introduction to this young man before the AGT judges months ago. You will love his little, tearful intro and his music. He was my fave from the get go. And I can't help but make the point that extended family can do a great job – certainly better than the State. Not unrelated, but I can hardly wait until the Bayne children win it all.

The 21st is Coming / Part 311 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This blog has been dedicated for the past eleven months to advocating for the return of Paul and Zabeth Bayne's three children, all of whom have been in B.C. government care under the auspices of the Ministry of Children and Family Development and specifically in the care of foster parents. The three children are in a caring environment at the moment but no one knows when and for what reasons that might change and the children shipped to other foster placements. An important point is that October is quickly approaching, and the 22nd of that month will mark the third anniversary of their removal from the Bayne home. That is nothing to celebrate.

The Bayne house that the two oldest children may remember is gone. It became fodder to fuel the mounting legal bills. But the adage is 'home is where the heart is,' so the children have felt the love of home when meeting with mommy and daddy during visitations twice per week and recently three times per week when the Judge extended the privilege. Further, home will be in a new location, where the children will find some familiar treasures and where this interrupted family may once again practice the liberty of life and embark upon a happiness they never envisioned could be so violently discontinued.

Soon however, in fact seven days from today, the case before the court will come to a conclusion. That is, the actual in-court sessions will conclude. As I have noted earlier, on the 21st of September Ministry of Children's legal counsel, Mr. Finn Jensen is scheduled to deliver his summation to Judge Crabtree. The day has been scheduled for him and he may use a morning and afternoon to summarize his case for a Continuing Care Order for which the Ministry has applied. A CCO application assumes that the regional Ministry's director and social workers are so convinced that all three children face predictable risk and endangerment if they are returned to their birth parents that the only reasonable and only guaranteed security for them is to remove them permanently. A CCO application must assume that these parents, both of them, or one of them with the complicity of the other are so dishonest, so unreliable, so untrustworthy, they should never be entrusted with their children again. These must be two people past the point of any redemption. This family must be beyond the point of redemption.

Yet, that assessment does not square with the convictions that lifetime or long term friends have of Paul and Zabeth.

Furthermore, I do not believe that the director and social workers are themselves convinced that taking these children away from the parents forever is the right course of action. Instead I surmise that this CCO measure is little more than legalistic protocol necessitated by the content of a file, which to ignore or second guess, might imply poor case work. It is butt-covering. But how dare public servants expend children's lives and happiness to protect their own reputations. Mr. Jensen himself is on record as having expressed to his client that a case to keep the two oldest children is unwinnable.

Paul and Zabeth are not guilty and in denial. They are innocent and in denial of the wrongdoing that is assumed but unproven. The evidence component is precisely where this Ministry case comes unglued. During the entire drawn out court case, no testimony or report has been presented by the MCFD lawyer that can stand as evidence. It has been opinion, rumour and hearsay. Judge Crabtree has noted this. Jensen will need to do legal acrobatics to be convincing. He is capable but the 21st will be a long day the Ministry will not be helped. It would be far better if ministry minds saw that the gracious restoration of this family even now has the potential to enhance the Ministry reputation by validating its priority of the best interests of the children.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MS. PLOURDE & PROTECTING CANADIAN CHILDREN/ Part 310 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


Here is a website for an Ontario organization called 'Protecting Canadian Children' for which the watchword is “The Children Must Come First!” 

For those of you in Ontario, here is information about a Conference to be held on Friday November 5th in Hamilton at the Renaissance Banquet Centre at 2289 Barton Street East from 9:30 Am to 6:00 PM for a price of $40.00 that includes registration and lunch. It is hosted by Protecting Canadian Children and the Conference theme is “Family Protection.” A Candlelight Vigil is also scheduled for the following evening, Saturday November 6th with details to come at the PCC website link noted at the top paragraph.

The organization also has a public Facebook page to which relatively few people have subscribed. 

The impetus behind the organization is a woman named Alfredine Linda Plourde (creator of the Facebook page and primary contributor to the PCC website). She informed me that I could call her Linda. Alfredine or, Linda, has a Facebook page to which only signed friends can access her profile information. But you can get informative biographical information by clicking the link. If you know Linda personally, send her a message or add her as a friend.  Alfradine Linda Plourde is becoming one of my heroes.

If you have a story that you wish to share with the Protecting Our Children website you can query or send data to

Alfredine is French Acadian and was born in Bathurst NB and is now a resident of Ontario. She never considered herself an activist or radical but in 2004 without warning she became personally acquainted with a nightmare experienced when as she writes her grandson was placed at unnecessary risk by the Catholic Children's Aid Society. Like many others, she began to research and consult and learned that thousands of similar stories exist in Canada with which she too is convinced the majority of Canadians are unaware. She has been gathering and publishing the stories, many of them with maintained confidentiality and she has been promoting educational awareness through rallies, marches and conferences. In addition she has spearheaded movements to lobby governments to intervene and to change policy and practice. Her crusade is primarily directed at the CAS and CCAS, Children's Aid Society and the Catholic Children's Aid Society. She is aware that each province in Canada has organizations like these even if known by different names.

She is one of the champions to set things right. In fact look at a video she prepared. At this page you will see two videos, hers is the one on the left. Watch that one first. You will hear her sincerity if you watch to the end. The one on the right is the late Nancy Schaeffer, US Crusader for change in Child Welfare. 

If you would like to become a distributor for the book by the title 'Protecting Canadian Children', please contact Alfradine at: 
or you may purchase one for $35.00 by calling one of these book stores:
  •  Queenston Stationery, 35 King Street, Stoney Creek, Ontario, 905-664-3360
  •  Bryan Prince , Bookseller Ltd., 1060 King Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, 905-528-4508
  •  In Hamilton, contact Maureen at 905-387-3506
  • In Brantford, contact Claudia Hudson 1-519-754-0670
  • Mountain Plaza Mall - Cigars Galore, 905-387-1146
  • Mountain Book Store, 560 Concession Street, Hamilton, 905-385-6082

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

COURT DELAYS ARE AGONY FOR CHILDREN / Part 310 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I hope to see Ray Ferris' letter to the editor in the Victoria Times Colonist. He wrote a followup to this well written article by Louise Dickson on September 12, 2010. Ms. Dickson tells the story of a couple whose names have not been divulged in hopes that this anonymity will prevent jeopardy to their attempt to retrieve their three children from the Ministry. In their case, unlike the Baynes, these children are ages 12,11,and 7 and they have been in provincial care for since June. Who can imagine what these children must be feeling and they must cope until perhaps next May 2011 because that is the nearest court date possibility. And that is the first time the information about the case comes to a judge. Yet all this time, the government has control of these children's lives within surroundings foreign to them. Dickson's report underscores the shortage of provincial judges in B.C. which is the cause for lengthy delays of cases whether small claims or criminal. Yet it is in cases having to do with children that the affects of delay are dramatic and harmful. Forget the Ministry's catchphrase “best interests of the children,” when the Ministry launches court action. Those of you who have already been involved with the Ministry and the courts know about this all too well because this published case is not isolated even as we have said all along the Baynes is not. Separation from loving parents does harm. The Ministry induces this harm and if it wants to argue that this is not true, then find ways of reuniting the families quickly. Do some creative, meaningful productive dialogue and mediation. Clearly as Dickson writes, not in all cases should children be returned to families because that is where their risk lies, and the long court delays simply compound the difficulties of resolving this child's future.

Dickson quotes Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Representative for Children and Youth who said, "Will children feel confident that someone cared about them as they grew up?"... "As they get older, many of the kids will say, 'Why was I taken away? I don't understand what happened to me. I don't understand why it took so long.' They will ask some very penetrating questions. But the answers will be inadequate."

Monday, September 13, 2010

NEVER MIND SECOND HAND SMOKE / Part 309 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


Finally a child protection measure worthy of praise. They removed the child, addressed a problem and returned the child, all within 30 days.

Since he was an infant he saw people smoking. He lives in the South Sumatran fishing village of Musi Banyuasin where every fisherman smokes. Ardi's father gave him his first cigarette when he was just 18-months-old. His parents run a street market and during the long hours their toddler was manageable when they gave him cigarettes. Indonesian two year old Ardi Rizal, with a two pack a day habit made international news in May when the video of him smoking went internet viral.

News agencies around the world carried the video story including CBC. His parents could not coax him to quit or make him quit but in the face of his tantrums when pressured to quit, fed him more cigarettes. Chubby two year old fingers twirled a cigarette like a pro and he inhaled like an old-timer. Forty cigarettes per day. Ardi’s parents, who were ignorant of smoking’s dangers and used cigarettes to keep the toddler happy as they worked long hours at a street market. He was made to kick the habit cold turkey when custody of the boy was removed from the parents and in care he was provided with numerous alternate interests and activities which appear to have worked for him. Whether he will stay off the smoke remains to be seen. Indonesian village culture sees a majority of children smoking before the age of ten. In fact this boy's father thought there was nothing wrong with his boy smoking. 'I'm not worried about his health, he looks healthy,' shrugged the boy's father Mohammad Rizal. He hardly stands a chance.

Ardi having a drag
The toddler was placed under the care of the National Commission for Child Protection in July, and was given psychological therapy. Psychologist Seto Mulyadi, took the child into his own home as part of rehabilitation efforts. After a month of rehabilitation it has been successful. Ardi is weaned from this addiction to cigarettes has since been redirected to playing: “He received psychosocial therapy for one month, during which therapists kept him busy with activities and encouraged him to play with kids of the same age,” says Merdeka Sirait, secretary-general of the National Commission for Child Protection.

Ardi Rizal was exposed to various activities, including drawing. His mother Diana, in turn, was given parenting classes. Rizal was described as a “happy” boy and has reportedly left Jakarta to go home to his village. The hope is that his father who stayed behind in their village of Musi Banyuasin will not hand Ardi a cigarette again.

5:33 AM Postscript: my opener... “Finally a child protection measure worthy of praise” was a cynical comment rather than an endorsement, altho I am glad he stopped smoking for a month.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

There is nothing like the inner peace that comes from God when you are working with Him. Paul and Zabeth are exploring the life adventure of trust in the one who created everything out of nothing. They have a lot of confidence on this Lord's Day in the one who can transform an ordinary terrible situation into a stunning recovery. You would only need to see the beauty of this Bayne family when they are together to know that the Ministry Director is making a frightful mistake in judgement to press forward to the 21st of September.
The CBC story this morning. “No foul play in B.C. foster child's death.
Earlier story on the Port Alberni child's death.
My sympathy to both the biological and foster parents in this tragic case.

HERE IS MY IDEAL SCENARIO / Part 308 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Finn Jensen, counsel for the Ministry of Children (Fraser Region) in this case against Paul and Zabeth Bayne, and of course against their three children rather than in their best interests, will be presenting his summation on September 21st. In some ways the Ministry case is also against all of whom are in foster care under the auspices of the government of British Columbia.

Counsel for the Baynes, Doug Christie, said he needed one hour but he took only twenty minutes to make his summation statement which was impassioned and emphatic and authoritative. He needed no more time because he underscored the failure by the opposing counsel to present any actual evidence to warrant a continuing care order based upon demonstrable risk. At best there had been suspicion but that is not evidence! What kind of shelf life can suspicion reasonably have. It has lasted far too long already. It should have been discarded within weeks and months of the original removal of the children. Instead the Ministry continued with a care program for the children that has separated a family for almost three years. All that because of a presumptive insistence that two innocent parents confess to inflicting an unthinkable trauma to their child. And now we soon will listen to the presumptive call for permanent removal of these children from mommy and daddy. And Jensen said he needs a full day. Oh, I understand it.

It was precisely because of Doug Christie's reminder that no genuine evidence had been presented by MCFD counsel during the course of the hearing that now begs the question, why does Finn Jensen require an entire day to bring his summation on September 21, 2010. The answer I suppose is no more profound than this - when you have nothing to say, you snow job it, filibuster, pad it, so he will talk and talk and attempt to make it appear that the evidence is overwhelming that these children should never be returned to their biological parents. If the evidence was incontestable Jensen could restate it in fifteen minutes, sit down and be confident that the Judge will rule in his favour. To schedule an entire day in court to speak exclusively to the Judge is an insult – an assumption that his honour is so thick that he has not heard much of anything during all the days of court or he will miss it in reading the court transcripts and he now needs everything to be re-articulated in minute detail.

So hear is my ideal scenario.
  • Jensen on the 21st September.
  • Rapid written response from Doug Christie once he receives the transcript of the Jensen summary.
  • Deliberation by the Judge and then his ruling so that on October 22nd, 2010, exactly three years from the date of removal of the children in 2007, those three children will run into the waiting arms of their mom and dad.
  • And I trust that Judge Crabtree will find sufficient cause to recommend to the Ministry of Children an independent inquiry into this particular case for the purpose of improving the manner in which cases of this kind are conducted, with a view to working with parents, following prescribed time-lines and protocols, operating with greater transparency and disclosure with parents.
  • And when the family of five soon to be six are together, and I provide a week of followup blog posts, I can close this down on October 29th, 2010, exactly one year since I began writing in support of Paul and Zabeth and the kids.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

KEVIN LIBIN REINING IN CHILDREN'S AID / Part 307 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Kevin Libin's National Post article, published June 12, 2009 was entitled 'Children's Aid Society workers should be reined in, critics say.'  In 2,200 words he eloquently described the best interests of children as these are perceived by the modern child welfare movement and then he delineated the mess we are in.

The curious thing for me is that I didn't know that we were in a child welfare mess until I involved myself in the stories many of you are telling me about the Ministry of Children social workers' invasions into your lives. I was one of the uninformed and who knows what percentage of Canadians today have no idea what happens when these highly empowered agencies have cause to learn your name. They have the broadest intervention powers in the Western world Libin quotes Brad McKenzie, social work professor from U. of Manitoba. Then Libin writes, “Caseworkers come armed with vaster powers than any police officer investigating crime. It is an immense authority easily abused, without vigilant restraint. It is time, critics say, they were reined in." He quotes children's advocate Katherine McNeill who says, "The social worker system, as it applies to children, is out of control, seriously out of control. And nobody’s doing anything about it.

If you didn't find his article earlier I am convinced you will now want to read what he had to say. Here he quotes three critics of the child welfare enterprise.
“The social worker system, as it applies to children, is out of control, seriously out of control, and nobody’s doing anything about it,” says Katherine McNeil, a children’s advocate working with families in Nova Scotia and B.C.”
“They violate all kinds of privacy and rights,” says the senior counsel for the Home School Defense League, Chris Klicka, who represents Canadian and American parents.
Marty McKay, a clinical psychologist who has worked on abuse cases in the U.S and Canada said that the work of child-welfare organizations has become “parenting by the state and the imposition of their value system on other people.”
When Libin wrote in 2009, he said that children's aid society workers would intervene in the lives of 200,000 of Canadian children that year.

Read the entire article here.