Sunday, October 31, 2010

CLIENT HOPE / Part 353 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

 I feel that I am constantly dealing with hypotheticals. Here I go again. Wouldn't it be marvelous if the Ministry of Children specialized in giving parental clients hope for a future as a functional family that needs no supervision, no further interventions, no assistance of any kind? Wouldn't it be terrific if parents having experience with MCFD could say that MCFD workers care.

Our society is a stew of multicultural families. The stew is a natural bi-product of immigration and with each family introduced into British Columbia is a fresh interpretation of family practices and expectations. Personal experience of family affects the way we develop our own families, the way we parent and what we expect of our children.

I know that MCFD wants to keep its case work professional,objective, clinical and separate from personal life, but is it not possible for love to be used to define the Ministry response? Can that not be introduced as a value in the social worker's education? Is that far too homespun, grassroots, elementary and foolish to be considered? Would love as an integral factor in casework make a difference? I am only guessing that it would.

It would require that caseworkers would journey down a path of loving the clients regardless of the animosity they exhibit for having their lives invaded by outsiders. It means upholding the law but stretching to teach and to provide help and to share life knowledge. It means treating clients like fellow travellers in this world who may need a little direction or a bit of encouragement or some professional help to keep going and to succeed with their home and family lives.

As you may know, I pastored churches for 35 years and served as a denominational executive for hundreds of churches for a half dozen more years. My comments may reflect that service orientation. Yet I can remember going to conferences and seminars to build my skills and being instructed by a renowned cleric to treat the people we counsel and help as books on the shelf. When we go home at night we should simply put the book back on the shelf and leave it behind. Candidly, that did not work for me. It was a style which I could not adopt, could not make my own. I tended to take the book home with me. I believe that it made me a more responsible and more effective pastor. And perhaps that is why although the Baynes were out of my life for at least eight years because I left the church where they worshipped and where I had pastored, when I learned about them one year ago and the issues they have with MCFD, I took up their cause.

I believe that when social workers inject genuine compassion born of love for people, they infuse hope to their clients.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

BLISTERING ATTACK / Part 352 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Without a self-applied recasting of the mission and method of the Ministry of Children, it is a matter of time until some commissioned body or individual delivers a blistering attack at the Ministry of Children and Family Development. It will be done with an informed and educated history which will not be dismissed.

blown glass wall tears by Esque
When I began writing on behalf of the Bayne family, it was with naivety and some emotion and over time I have come to understand that while the writing exercise serves to release some steam, it will not ultimately affect change unless it is done well. So much rhetoric by angry citizens whose lives have been disrupted, lacks critical thinking and employs sweeping generalities. I recognize that discerning readers, officials and professionals refuse to listen to extreme expressions of even legitimate issues. I fully approve of bold spokespeople, yet what I believe is that if the MCFD is to be changed or a new Child Welfare system designed, it will require that advocates and champions be able to cooperatively envision and communicate a vision for what is right, fair, just and compassionate care of children and families and parents.

I do not for a moment discount the credibility of hundreds of parents who complain about the treatment they have encountered from social workers and the legal system. The MCFD in seeking to protect endangered children has been separating too many families and for too long periods of time.

Almost every square inch of the Earth's surface is soaked with the tears and blood of the innocent. Sometimes those innocents are children and sometimes they are parents. In most cases the tears fall for reasons much graver than an agency intervention and a removal of children. Nevertheless, the seizure of children on the suspicion of at-home risk is accountable for a good deal of wet soil because for both children and parents the weight of hopelessness and despair is unbearable.

Here on this blog we witness the pain of the afflicted.

Friday, October 29, 2010

SAFE AND RISK FREE / Part 351 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The transcripts have been delivered to the Baynes.
Within days their legal counsel will present a compelling refutation to Judge Thomas Crabtree. Upon reviewing all court reports including this last document, Justice Crabtree will deliver a ruling that will determine the future of a family. It will be a just ruling when he clearly discerns the truth. We are trusting that Mr. Crabtree will not be influenced by the name, education, position or reputation of the information source but rather, be passionate to distinguish truth regardless of who stated it. I have sometime commented on actions outside and inside court because that is all we can see. We cannot know motives despite the certainty with which some of my readers speculate.

Through this long ordeal Paul and Zabeth have exhibited tranquillity despite the accusations directed at them. That spontaneous deportment of peace and contentment is unsurprising from people whose consciences are pure. They will not be better people if Judge Crabtree awards them their own children. Nor are they unworthy parents because Finn Jensen told the Judge that they are. They are who they are. And for them, it matters that God sees them. Understandably their attention is on their own family and the outcome of Judge Crabtree's deliberations, but I can tell you this. When peace controls their futures, Paul and Zabeth are the kind of people who will speak peace to other sufferers.

Only love can lighten heavy burdens like this and Paul and Zabeth not only have love for each other but have an abundance of it from an army of people. All of that love helps to carry the heavy burden. They are fortunate that is true.
I assure you that both Paul and Zabeth have improved their lives during the past three years – not financially of course. Yet they have stared fear in the face and have battled for family and in that brave effort have attained skills and virtues they never considered before. Perhaps some of the greatest victories have already been won. When these children get their parents back, this will be one great family. Three children will have diligent and sincere parents like few others because they have already made progress in these important areas. These parents have lived peaceably while facing people who do not like them and have not cared for them and their three children will be entirely safe and risk free in their biological family home.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS/ Part 350 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

I know foster parents personally. Over a period of many years I have watched these foster parents that I know do a praiseworthy job of raising someone else's children. I know adoptive parents whose families have been comprised of children born to someone else yet who were integrated with such love that it was seamless. I applaud excellent foster parents and superior adoptive parents. They transform unfortunate life events into redemptive rescues and recoveries.

This blogsite is not designed to castigate or demean foster or adoptive parents and families.

I know competent social workers who dedicate themselves to effective responsible work. Knowing them has caused me to conclude that the dominant motivation for people who embark upon a career in social work is the unmistakable desire to help people with social needs. They desire and they receive training to provide a variety of resources to people with social difficulties within the target population in which they work. They have access to and they may collaborate with other social care organizations and government institutions as mediators and consultants.

We are all proud of our province
This blogsite is not designed to rebuke or humiliate social workers whether at the front line or in a supervisory role.

Listen, I could do this all day. I know as friends, doctors and lawyers and people in law enforcement and I am certain that almost everyone who enters these professions do so with laudable intentions. This blog is not designed to reprimand or offend any who spend their lives in these fields.

However, it may sometimes appear that this blog is merely a vehicle for disseminating vitriol to scar people employed in positions to which I have alluded above, because child protection activities at the heart of these daily written communications have bred such wrath and anguish, not in me personally, but in those for whom and about whom I write. Further, my thoughts provide opportunity for the wounded to respond and they do, often with words directed like a scatter gun at everyone in the fields related to their damaged lives. Everyone who is suspected of being responsible for disrupting and interfering and even ruining a family becomes a target for a verbal blast.

You see, I also know personally, people whose children should never have been held from their parents for as long a period as has been the case. I know parents who have not received from social workers a respect and compassion we would associate with their professions. I know parents who have been handled with disinterest, discourtesy and cruelty by healthcare and legal and law enforcement persons.

So you will have to excuse what appears to be an occasional outburst or an overstep of civility because YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LISTENING. Ms. Polak, Ms. Du Toit, Ms. Turpel-Lafond, Mr. Campbell, Mr. de Jong, Mr. McNeill, Mr. Fitzimmons, Mr. Jensen, Mr. Gulbot, Mr. Humeny, there are parents and children who are not being heard. Attention must be paid to a countless number of parents who are powerless to recover their families because an entire ministry and legal system is charged with a mandate that can be deemed counter productive to the objectives of these disenfranchised parents. In so many of these cases, the best interests of the children is being misunderstood and misinterpreted. I am begging you to begin to listen to their heart cries. This province needs to become proactive, a trail blazer in reform of child protection policy and practice. I know that you can do this.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CASJAFVA Dinner Speech #2 / Part 349 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Reminder: yesterday I posted the first part of the update I presented to a special group of people who sincerely advocate for protection and changes in areas that affect us all.

Second Part – Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association Dinner, October 24, 2010 Vancouver

“This case of the Province of BC Ministry of Children against Paul and Zabeth Bayne is waiting for a ruling by Judge Thomas Crabtree. The Baynes were in court since January to contest the application by the Ministry to keep their children forever. It's a Continuing Care Order. It means the children would remain in the care of the Province indefinitely, and that means possibly until the age of majority, age 19, and possibly adoption to another family. The Fraser Valley Region of the Ministry took this position that Paul and Zabeth continue to be a risk and that they should not have their children returned. MCFD holds that position in spite of the fact that Police dropped all charges of abuse and in spite of the fact that there is no actual evidence of danger or risk. They hold that position solely because Paul and Zabeth Bayne have refused to admit to harming their infant daughter whom a medical opinion said was the subject of shaking and trauma. The Ministry took the majority of the court time to prove how unfit Paul and Zabeth are to be parents. It had to embellish and stretch the truth throughout this trial. Many of us do not believe that the Ministry proved its case. All that matters now is that Judge Thomas Crabtree also concludes that the Ministry did not prove this and that it is in the best interests of these children to be returned to their parents.

How anyone could think otherwise is beyond my understanding. One of the special considerations favouring the Baynes that judge Crabtree has recently made in court was to permit one of the visitation days each week when Paul and Zabeth can see their children, to actually take place in the Baynes' own home. So for the past few Saturdays, all three children are brought to the Bayne home where each child is loved, loved, loved. They have six hours on a Saturday. The two boys have a shared bedroom where during the day if they choose to have a nap they can go there. These boys remember some toys and blankets from that brief time they spent with their mommy and daddy in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Baynes' small daughter has a room of her own with everything girly and fun. And there is a giant playroom for everyone and a large yard in which to play. And always these visitations are carried on with a supervisor present to monitor everything that is done. That supervisor cannot help but see how much these children love to be in their home.

That home is a rental house. You will remember that Paul and Zabeth lost their own home to pay for legal expenses in the early stages of this three year old struggle to regain their children. And Zabeth is a concert pianist and plays beautiful music and taught piano lessons but she had to sell her grand piano to pay for other legal expenses. They have exhausted all that they have in order to restore their family to a functioning and happy family once again. Paul and Zabeth deserve the right and the privilege of raising their three children into adulthood, instilling into their lives the values and principles and skills that will make them contributing members of society and contributing disciples of God's Kingdom.

In his closing summation, Baynes' lawyer Doug Christie told the Judge that the Ministry failed to prove its case. He said that this was purely a medical matter. It pertained to injuries sustained by their youngest child, an infant at the time. There was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Baynes. There was no confession by the Baynes. There was nothing to which the Ministry could point to prove that these parents willfully inflicted harm to their child and that is the only reason that these children should be removed from their parents. All that the Ministry has is a diagnostic opinion by a pediatrician who identified the injuries as shaken baby when there is no evidence that these injuries were the result of an act of violence. In fact it was later acknowledged by that doctor that the injuries indicated impact which of course is consistent with the explanation provided by the Baynes of an accident in the home when a sibling brother fell upon the baby.

Photo from the Bayne Facebook page
Within days the Baynes will receive the transcript of the Ministry lawyer's closing summation and then Mr. Doug Christie will prepare a rebuttal and submit it to Judge Crabtree. The Judge wants to make a ruling as soon as possible, and he will take a few weeks, and hopefully make his ruling before the end of this year 2010. The very best scenario would be for Kent and Baden and Bethany to be returned home unconditionally for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning, so that Paul and Zabeth can rejoice that unto them their children have been given.
All of you who pray, please continue to pray for this family, and particularly Paul and Zabeth who wait so patiently.”
As I concluded, with Paul and Zabeth embracing in tears where they sat, six hundred people stood to give them a standing O.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CASJAFVA Dinner Speech / Part 348 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

This past Sunday evening my wife and I were invited guests at a fund-raising dinner held by CASJAFVA, that is an acronym for Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association. It was held in Vancouver's Chinatown at the Floata Restaurant. Six hundred people were in attendance, including some media people and some politicians and candidates for office. It is primarily Chinese based and operated having been founded and nurtured by lawyer K-John Cheung in 1997.

Brad Trost in the House
The guest speaker was the Honourable MP Mr. Brad Trost, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Humboldt. Brad currently serves as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade. He formerly served as a member of the Natural Resources Committee and before that, the Industry Committee. He is the founder of the Conservative Party's Energy Caucus and is a member of the cross-party Pro-Life Caucus. He has also served as an elected vice-chair of the Canada-U.S. Parliamentary Association since 2006. At the dinner he touched on a number of points that struck responsive chords with his audience and he focused upon Immigrations issues to inform us about federal government interest, initiatives and proposals. Mr. Trost has a reputation for conservative values quite in keeping with similar convictions held by CASJAFVA.

I too was invited to provide an update about Paul and Zabeth Bayne who were also in attendance. This organization has been a principal supporter within the network of encouragement that has been offered to this couple over the past three years. The Baynes were presented to this large crowd last year. Their tears flowed as people stood to applaud them. I am providing the text of my speech here today and tomorrow.

First Part
“These have been three of the longest and most painful years that any parent could possibly live and survive. Three children, with two of whom, the sons Kent and Baden, Paul and Zabeth had already begun a loving parent-child relationship with ideals for their lives, with goals and hoped-for plans of a nurturing family in which their faith in God would play an important role. With the third child, a girl, Bethany, came the exciting prospect of a tiny child in dresses and with long hair and a sweet smile but she was only weeks old and any possibility of relationship had not yet had time to develop. And then with the incident/accident and the hospital diagnosis, and the response by police and the Ministry of Children, any relationship with her was put into jeopardy. Furthermore the two boys were children, for whom no explanation could possibly be adequate to mitigate the sheer terror of being snatched away from their parents. All of that happened three years ago. This past Friday was the third anniversary of their removal.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

MCFD-Phobic / Part 347 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

To presume is to take something for granted or as being true in the absence of proof to the contrary; to suppose something to be true without proof. When it comes to law, that definition applies in Canada. That is the inherent right, at least expectation of everyone who lives within our democratic British Columbian legal system. The citizen lives within a state of presumed innocence. It shouldn't be any other way.
A child afraid of MCFD

It is understandable that someone who is suspected of a violation of law should be temporarily restrained until a timely investigation establishes that either no evidence of infringement exists or, there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial using the pertinent facts. It is even appropriate in a serious criminal offense, to hold such a person in custody until trial when that person poses a risk of flight or further offenses.

When in a trial no evidence or insufficient evidence of a violation has been exposed either through discovery or confession by the defendant, the presumed innocence is confirmed by an acquittal of charges against the person. No penalties will be ruled against the person as a result of that trial.

Because Paul and Zabeth Bayne's ordeal has not been a criminal case the presumption of innocence does not seem to apply. Something is different. I am telling it like it is not how it should be. The Ministry of Children is authorized to act 'in the best interests' of the Bayne children as interpreted by MCFD social workers and director of that specific case, and that empowers MCFD to presume, if not guilt, then parental liability, certainly responsibility, even criminal probability. That's what MCFD can do. It can operate from presumption of guilt. And the inequitable entitlement which is afforded to MCFD consists in that the Baynes, rather than being protected within a canopy of presumed innocence, are made vulnerable as in a gladiatorial arena, because they, defenceless, must somehow validate their innocence. And their word, their protestations are not enough. Isn't it true that anyone, everyone says he or she is innocent, even vile murderers maintain, “I didn't do it.” Why should self-professed innocents be presumed innocent?

And then this imbalance. Long before the Baynes were required in a court of law to prove their innocence, MCFD could exact the penalty upon them of removing and holding on to their children and imposing restrictions upon the parents' access to the children and involvement in any decisions that pertain to their lives. And of course, MCFD has been doing this for three years, an anniversary marked in memory on October 22nd. Yet because MCFD forced a trial by its application to retain the children forever, the Baynes were compelled at great personal cost and financial expense to demonstrate that they are innocent of harming their child or posing a physical risk to any of their children. Any reasonable person can appreciate the challenge resident in such a demand.

This case is only one illustration of the many that have been introduced over many months by your comments that support your collective premise that the Ministry of Children's Child Protection division should at all times be presumed a risk, and presumed to be guilty of error. What an alarming indictment of a government ministry and a fearful atmosphere under which our population must live. I know hundreds of people who are MCFD-phobic. Mr. Premier you must not permit this to continue or dismiss these concerns as the rants of a fringe minority.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

PULLING IT TOGETHER / Part 346 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

A writer called Child Protection Exposed wrote a response to my 'What's Next?' blog post this past Friday, October 22nd. You can read it in its entirety here. Some interesting statements were made that I want to pursue.

My subject focus was this. Since many people independently scatter their dissatisfaction over a vast array of online vehicles and dedicate their energies through an array of organizations, I am asking what concerted series of next steps can actually move our province toward a solution that protects children yet minimizes the damage to functional families and worthy parents and further brings correction to perceived faults in service, practice and delivery?

CPE makes the point that affecting Public Opinion is essential to kick start the impetus for changes to child protection practices.
Sample poor quality
So how can public opinion be influenced? CPE said that use of social media is effective and gave the example of Youtube videos because a good production can go viral and when it does it affects public opinion. My qualification is that someone must do a series of polished creations because the majority of anti child protection Youtube videos are complainant produced, at-home, poor quality pieces that cannot maintain viewer interest. CPE suggested some well scripted, professionally produced videos that express and dramatize the mistakes, failures, damages and tragedies of child protection could be vital to lobbying for greater accountability and quality protection procedure.

To my suggestion that the assorted groups and people that complain about MCFD practices should link arms as a unified front, CPE pointed out not only the ideological disparities of the groups but also the reality that there is no one within child protection who will listen. For instance, some groups express themselves with more radical rhetoric than others prefer and that will make collective assimilation difficult.

I thought that some valuable advice was offered when CPE mentioned that the optimum time for concerted efforts to make the cause heard, is prior to civic and provincial elections. For instance, this writer called candidates and asked child protection related questions and if confronted by a voice mail greeting, left this message question. "Do you or your party support the creation of an oversight agency to look into possible failings of MCFD?" I should add that the writer pointed out the frequent, disappointing response was often "It is not an election issue."

Well, when will it be? And how do we raise it to the level of being an election issue? Are there really so few of you within this provincial population who recognize that there are required changes to the way people are handled within the child protection arena? Does it only become a concern when it affects you personally or someone close to you? Are there not social workers who see some deficiencies, some correctable practices? Must we consistently capitulate? Are there no heroes, no whistleblowers, no champions?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

DID YOU KNOW? / Part 345 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

New Leather – Did You Know
Hello, look at your car, now back to mine, now back at yours, now back at mine. Sadly you haven't got a car like mine, but if you were a lawyer representing the Ministry of Children and Family Development you could drive one like mine. Look at my car's emblem, now back up, where are you? You're in a showroom with a person who already owns one of the cars on display. What's in your hand, back at that show car. You need a key that fits the ignition of that new car with which you have fallen in love. Look again, the key is in your hand. Anything is possible when you graduate from law school and become employed by MCFD. I'm in the driver's seat. [Smell like new leather. Be an MCFD lawyer]

“Hello, ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on a boat with the man your man could smell like. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I’m on a horse.” [Smell like a man, man. Old Spice]
"Hello, everybody, now look at yourself, now back to me, now back at yourself, now back to me. Sadly, you are not a Monster, but if you listen to Grover you will learn all about the word: “On”. Just as this monster does. Look down, back up. Where am I, ah, “I am on a boat”. What is in your hand? Back at me. I have it, it is a clam with two tickets to that thing you love. (clam bites nose) “On my nose”. Anything is possible when you smell like a Monster and you know the word “On”. “I am on a horse”.  "Moo."  "Cow." Smell like a monster On Sesame Street

Hello, parents, look at your life, now look at mine, now back at yours, now back at mine. Sadly, you aren't me, but if you work in social services, and specialize in child protection, you can act like me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're in court with the person you could be like. What's in your hand, back at me. I have the CFCSA in my hand to justify everything that I do. Look again, the folder is in your hand and you now have all the power. Anything is possible when you work for MCFD. I'm writing an affidavit. [Enjoy authority. Be a Protection SW]

I couldn't help myself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

TODAY MARKS THE DAY / Part 344 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne





WHAT'S NEXT? / Part 344 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Other than getting it off your chests, what is the value of ranting against the MCFD?
I am asking the question because like this blog, there are numerous websites and blog sites which rail against the procedures, tactics and injustices of MCFD with regard to parents, families and children. Today I am asking myself what possible good is accomplished by airing these concerns?
I know that it is important for disenfranchised parents to have a voice somewhere, but most who take the opportunity on this blog, do so anonymously anyway.

And what is the readership of a blog like this? Well I can tell you that the majority of people scouring the internet for links related to child protection are parents whose families have been torpedoed by a government agency. So it is limited and biased readership. The majority of the comments attached to my daily posts are from people sympathetic to my advocacy of the Baynes' attempt to regain their three children.
The sites that are over the top in their expression of abhorrence and contempt for MCFD will seldom get more than a rare and random glance from any government or ministry official. My guess is that such presentations will not be taken seriously.
My blog does receive regular drop bys from people in positions of authority and influence and involvement in MCFD. Some workers related to the Bayne case check out the latest submission when it pertains to the case. But I am not kidding myself, writing here will not change anything inherent to the system and the issues themselves.
What I am noticing however, is that because I have sought to provide an honest, balanced, reasonable, informed, well written and consistent commentary, (that's enough adjectives) it garners more than fleeting interest.
But where does the concern and the interest go from here?

Some have suggested a conference. Some speak about a gathering of some kind. I am wondering what you have in mind. What is the next step that can effectively communicate to our Ministry of Children, the concerns that our citizenship have with the way child protection is conducted in our province? What organization is required?

We shouldn't even have to be doing this at the grassroots. A responsible Ministry leadership should recognize that the most constructive approach to transformation that adequately affects children and parents and families is concentrated communication with those very people affected by the present MCFD operation. Our Ministry should do far more listening. Our MCFD Minister and Deputy Minister should be conducting and paying for large scale Conferences across the province to embrace the input of damaged parents and children regardless of the vitriol that may be expressed. Establish the agenda to gain the information needed to change the existing system in ways that not only protect truly vulnerable children but spread hope heavily for all the parents who can overcome behavioural and personal issues in order to parent effectively.

Demonstrations, petitions and picketing do nothing in my estimation other than marginalize hurt people even further and classify them as a fringe element. But what is the action needed to communicate intelligently with those who do make policy and practice decisions? Come on, help us out here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BEFORE FIVE / Part 343 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

It was all in The Province. What an informative and provocative service has been provided by the journalistic decision to develop and publish a 12-part series on what parents and government can do to give B.C. children a better start in life. On Monday the eighth part occupied several pages with an assortment of articles. You can also read these online now. There are so many quotable quotes. I will place some of them here and seek to convey other lessons.
Dr. Clyde Hertzman, photo by Arlen Redekop, The Province
For instance, Sam Cooper did a piece called 'In Life, It's All About the First Five Years.' Well didn't we all know that? Perhaps not so much. When the impact of that fact is supported by the research of two hundred inter-disciplinary researchers who form a team supervised by Dr. Clyde Hertzman, the director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of B.C., this critical period of each life seriously impacts what we are discussing every day on this blog and every day that the Ministry of Children conducts its business. Dr. Hertzman told Cooper, "Early life experiences can actually change the way in which our genes express themselves...So it's no longer a question of nature or nurture -- it's a question of how nurture changes nature."

Hertzman says that “the biological 'code' of success in life is built by all the sounds, sights, touches, thoughts and emotional interactions that children experience in their first few years.” Then consider the Bayne children as a mere sample of the impact that removal and fostering has had upon malleable fresh lives. Paul and Zabeth have tried as well as they can to deliver large doses of acceptance and affection in the time allotted to them over three years when these children had to process on their own the wrenching away from their home, the adjustment to new people, caregivers, the stress of sorting through loyalties and following instructions from a host of people and hearing their parents remonstrated by visitation supervisors if incomprehensible lines were crossed. Now they have been with foster families longer than they were with their biological family and how confusing might that be? Even social workers have prompted the parents to be sensitive in how they speak to their boys who may have possible lingering attachment to foster parents.

Cooper understood the HELP team to be saying that “If children don't get what they need during the crucial developmental "windows" before the age of five, they likely will never bounce back.”  In an interview in his office at UBC, Hertzman is asked: Can it really be true that a life story is basically written before the age of five? Hertzman answered that “when things work out to begin with, it's way easier for kids to grow and develop. It's like leaky condos -- if it isn't built right from the beginning, it will be way harder and expensive to fix later on."

The baby girl that the Baynes or one of the Baynes have been accused of hurting to the point of endangering the life, is three years of age. What has she learned about life, about adults, about relationships, about trusting, about communication, about love? Hertzman in this article establishes that “From birth to the age of three in particular -- the 'densest time of development' -- the primitive areas of the brain that allow us to interact well with others are growing and coming together, much like the architectural foundation of a building..... children are reading the facial expressions of adults and forming visual connections with the deep emotional centres of the brain...parents basically have an 18-month window to gaze at, hold and cuddle children to help them build the right structures.”

This sampling does not do credit to the article and to Dr. Hertzman's views so I encourage you to read the article here. He was asked what parents can do and he cited these for the newspaper.

1. Early on in life, spend as much time as possible holding, touching, talking to your child.
2. Get in the habit of reading fun bedtime stories to your child. Make it a loving, emotional experience, and ask questions, too.
3. Provide as much time as possible for your child to play with other children and on their own.
4. If you need to use childcare, insist on high-quality care and environments.
5. Develop a support network with neighbours and friends to help solve your family's problems with work-life time challenges."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

EVEN KIDS KNOW / Part 342 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

A bank runs a series of humorous TV ads.

A small boy is collecting candied eggs and placing them in a wire basket on a table where the man is seated reading a newspaper. The man says, “Good job, keep going.” After the boy drops a second load of eggs in the basket and goes for another load the man sneaks some eggs into his own pockets which the boy sees and says,”you took my eggs.” The man says, “Egg management fee.” “What's that?” the boy asks. The man repeats, “Egg management fee.” Lesson: Even kids know it's wrong to take other people's stuff. Why don't banks?

Two small girls sit at a child's table and the man sits opposite them. He says to one, “would you like a pony? She replies, “Yes.” He pulls a cute plastic pony from his pocket and she is obviously pleased. The man says to the other little girl, “would you like a pony?” She answers “yes” thinking she will also get a cute plastic pony but he calls for a real pony to come from behind a playhouse wall and the girl is overjoyed. The first girl, confused, says, “you didn't say I could have a real one.” The man says, “Well you didn't ask.” Lesson: Even kids know it's wrong to hold out on somebody. Why don't banks?

The man gives the boy a beautiful red toy car to play with. He plays with it for a few seconds when the man takes the toy back. When the boy reacts, the man pulls a cardboard cutout from his jacket pocket and hands it to the boy. The boy says “I want the other car.” The man says “that was a limited time offer. It's right here in the fine print.” The boy looks at the cardboard vehicle and says, “this is a piece of junk.” Lesson: Even kids know it's wrong to hide behind small print. Why don't banks?

A small girl wearing a bike helmet stands beside a pretty bike that stands inside a small rectangle marked on the floor. The man asks her, “Would you like to go for a ride on that bike?” “Yes” she says. She gets on and with her first peddle she crosses one of the rectangle's lines. The man stops her and says, “It's required that you keep the bike in this predetermined space. If you want to take the bike out, I'm going to charge you a penalty.” She says, “You can't ride in this little space.” He qualifies this correctively by saying, “ you can't ride - very far.” Lesson: Even kids know an offer shouldn't come with ridiculous conditions. Why don't banks?

What you are telling me is that the way MCFD operates locally and practically is comedic but that the life stories of your children affected by MCFD are anything but funny. There are more lessons than I can name here, but here are a few.
Lesson: Even kids know it's wrong to take other people's children. Why doesn't MCFD?
Lesson: Even kids know it's wrong to withhold information from somebody. Why doesn't MCFD?
Lesson: Even kids know it's wrong to hide behind the CFCSA. Why doesn’t MCFD?
Lesson: Even kids know their welfare shouldn't come with ridiculous terms and conditions. Why doesn't MCFD?

I will guess that you can name other lessons.

Advocating for the return of Paul's and Zabeth's three children, in MCFD care since October 2007.
Image uploads will be disabled for two hours due to maintenance at 5:00PM PDT Wednesday, Oct. 20th.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

THE WAY IT WORKS / Part 341 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Natural parents have full rights over their child unless mitigated by an agreement or court order to the contrary. These rights, known as parental rights are also referred to as custody or guardianship.

Occasionally a parent is unable to cope with parental responsibility and voluntarily turns a child over to the government. By law, in all jurisdictions of Canada there are child protection, sometimes called child welfare services. On this blog we tend to highlight the cases in which the government has take initiative for a child protection order. The term 'apprehension' is applied to the government intervention by which a child is removed from the natural parent(s) care, and this is affected by the extraction of all or most of the parental rights from the natural parents, through a quick confirmation by the Court.

British Columbia's legislation is entitled Child, Family and Community Service Act. In Ontario, the related legislation is the Child and Family Services Act, and, in Alberta, the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. The BC CFCSA is unique in that it personifies the role of the government in child protection cases by a reference to the Director who is a senior public servant who interestingly seldom becomes involved in individual cases and never appears in court. So 'Director' means the child protection office or social worker responsible for the file.

In BC a child apprehension is followed promptly by a presentation hearing where in court the social worker discloses the facts for the apprehension and also provides a plan and the court makes an interim ruling. Much angst and criticism from parents and lawyers results from the brusque and summary process of this presentation hearing. The threshold for custody by the the Director is startlingly but predictably very low because the system is designed for the parent's challenge to be deferred until a later date, the later protection hearing. It is profoundly crushing for parents to know that their child will remain with a stranger while false suspicion or anonymous allegations of abuse are investigated.

In some cases the Director and the court may consider a supervision order which returns the child to the parents subject to the Director’s terms and conditions. Sometimes, the Director will come to agreement with the parents as to what should happen next. Other times mediation or judge-presided conferencing is scheduled. Nevertheless, for parents who have unjustifiably lost the care of their child, compromise or negotiating becomes an extremely difficult proposition, specially if admission to abuse is pressured or required from a parent who is innocent.

The protection hearing is a more substantial hearing that results when the Court has endorsed the Director's opinion that the child needs protection. This can then proceed to the Continuing Care Order and once a child is engaged in the cycle of protection hearings, the child may remain in the custody of the Director until the age of majority. Well intentioned parents may not survive and some will acquiesce to litigation fatigue or impoverishment due to legal costs. That attrition is predictable for all but the extremely hardy or well supported because the government has limitless resources and a bottomless bank account.

It is apparent by now in the posts I have written and in the unsolicited comments subsumed under them, that the office of social worker in child protection proceedings is a very challenging and thankless job. Given the demand to respond to every report concerning a child, opportunities abound for error and misjudgment. We are told by the government that in the vast majority of cases, apprehension decisions are not made lightly and are submitted to thorough and careful analysis and ruling of an interested and unbiased judge. There are many who read this blog who do not agree and refuse to see anything inherently good within the present Ministry of Children and CFCSA. Personal pain and loss when wed to helplessness against what appears to be authorized brutality does not readily result in forgiveness.

Advocating for the return of Paul's and Zabeth's three children, in MCFD care since October 2007.

Monday, October 18, 2010

IF I DID IT OVER AGAIN / Part 340 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

I can look back across a lifetime, 45 years ago when I was a young man in my early twenties and working at a shoe store in between college terms. Two women came into the store with two or three children. One of the women was there to buy shoes for a child. As she spoke with me, one of the small children, perhaps three years of age was jumping across the padded seats and unfortunately came into her wheelhouse. She had told him to stop but he didn't so she let him have it with the back of her forearm. She caught him fully on his chest and sent him flying through the air to the other side of the aisle, perhaps six feet. I recall it with amazement still. I was horrified by the mother's action and anger. It was instantly clear that this public display would not have been the first time this child was struck by his mother. It likely would not be the last  - because I did not act.

I said nothing and did nothing with regard to that incident. I was certainly unaware of any responsibility on my part to notify authorities. Such reporting was certainly uncommon then. After all, school teachers still practiced corporal punishment in 1962. Believe me, I know because I got it - the strap that is. A sixteen inch long, three inch wide and quarter inch thick strand of leather. As a seven year old in grade three in 1949, I received three strokes on each open palm for having stepped out of formation to playfully wrestle with another boy on the way home from school during lunch break. A few years later I was twelve years old when I was strapped by the male principal for throwing a stone at a girl and striking her on her ankle. Throwing the stone was wrong. Corporal punishment administered by a six foot two inch adult whacking a child's hands was wrong as well. It was my practice to deliver newspapers after school but that was interrupted for one week because I could not open my swollen hands and in fact didn't attend school for a couple of days. My mom and dad were merciful enough to permit me to remain at home but they did not contest the principal's action. He was a professional after all. He was a principal of a school. You did not stick your nose where it did not belong, was a general rule.

And saying anything to this mother in the shoe store or telling someone else about her so there would be repercussions was something you didn't even consider doing. People didn't involve themselves in other people's domestic affairs.

That autobiographical peek is simply to say, that if I were a young man today working in a retail store and confronted by a similar situation with a mother as obviously out of control with what is appropriate discipline or out of control of her emotions, I would not hesitate to notify authorities. That's right.. There is a keener consciousness today to protect children, and my high respect for parental rights would not supercede my feeling of obligation to do the right thing for that defenseless child. He may be a brat but he does not deserve to be belted across the room. He may be a brat because his mother is a brat.

“A common feature of child protection legislation is to require everybody in the Province to report any child needing protection. Typically, the legislation will protect the identity and civil liability of the disclosing party but otherwise makes it an offence to not report. It is one of those rare areas where Good Samaritanism is mandatory.” (from the Duhaime online legal dictionary)

Now you may be very disappointed with me at this point today, but I ask. What would stop a woman from regularly resorting to excessive force to discipline her child? A remonstrance from a store clerk would be mute. Apprehension of her child would be a wake up call. Do I think that apprehension is an excessive first measure? YES! Do I think it is reasonable to remove the child for the child's own safety? YES! That is double speak for “do you see how delicate this area can sometimes become?” On one hand, the child protection agency could approach the parent with an ultimatum that requires attendance at parenting class or an anger management class while leaving the child in the care of the parent. On the other hand, during the time that the parent is indignantly attending the class, in an uncontrolled moment he or she may club the child with a broom handle and fracture the child's hand.

Do any of you who are vehemently opposed to all things MCFD, see the complexity and delicacy of these life shaping questions? Do you detect a lot of greys in our humanity rather than merely blacks and whites? And of course can you see how the readiness of MCFD to remove children and then to KEEP them TOO long makes all good people reluctant to report. This Ministry is going to have to get it right, very SOON.

Advocating for the return of Paul's and Zabeth's three children, in MCFD care since October 2007.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


At this online news source, the court appearance of the foster mom charged with criminal negligence is reported.

CANADIAN FAMILY ORGANIZATIONS / Part 339 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

If you are sympathetic to the grievous loss by parents of not only their children but of their inherent rights to parent their biological children, then you should browse the Parental Rights website that I noted yesterday. 
If you have compassion for children who have been removed from their parents when a conscientious effort could have been conducted to resolve the issues that interrupted the best interests of the child and the family, then spend some time digesting the information offered on this website.

I am not discounting sincere and passionate efforts being made provincially to gather a momentum of concern in order to gain a hearing with legislators. For instance, Protecting Canadian Children. 

Protecting Canadian Children is Ontario based and Ontario focused and will soon be hosting a CONFERENCE on Family Protection on Friday, November 5th, 2010 at the Renaissance Banquet Centre at 2289 Barton Street East, Hamilton, Ontario from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The cost is $40.00 (registration and lunch). If you live in Ontario you should attend. See Alfradine Linda Plourde's Facebook pages and PCC pages.

Another BC Society with a web presence is PAPA People Assisting Parents Association.  The mission of PAPA is simply stated as “We strive to protect the best interests of children by preserving their families and restoring healthy parenting ability. We safeguard the rights and dignity of parents in child protection activities.” The website is busy and bold, but when you take the time, you will find vast amounts of gathered data and stories. PAPA was formed by a group of citizens concerned about the "child protection" activities conducted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. To that end its beliefs valiantly include these points. 1) Parents have the God-given right and responsibility to care for and bring up their children in a manner which is culturally and socially acceptable to their own values within the boundary of Canadian laws. 2) Family is the best environment to nourish children. Preservation of family is important to maintain a healthy social structure vital to child upbringing, national security and continuation of civilization. 3) Custodial right of one's natural offsprings is a fundamental human right and should be enshrined constitutionally. 4) Government must treat parents and children with respect and dignity in carrying out its child protection mandate. 5) State intervention in family affairs should be avoided except in extreme circumstances. Should interventions become necessary, they must be least intrusive and serve the best interests of both children and their parents.

In B.C. there is also a Chinese based organization with a broader social interest than just child welfare and it is called Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association, also with a website which allows the browser upon arrival to ask for English or Chinese language access. The website serves as a quarterly web-zine.

It's an intimidating acronym and one which I will never remember CASJFVA but it represents these objectives: 1) The advocating, fostering and safe-guarding of social rights and justice. 2) The advocating, fostering and protection of traditional family values. 3) The safe-guarding of parental rights with respect to education and up-bringing of their children. 4) The advocating, fostering and safe-guarding of constitutional, common law and civic rights and responsibilities of individuals both as citizens and as parents. 5) The advocating, fostering and establishment of traditional schools, social and educational institutions for the preservation of traditional values. 6) The advocating, fostering and safe-guarding of citizen’s right and entitlement to clean, just and upright government. CASJFVA has a decidedly Christian values foundation.

Perhaps you can inform us of other helpful organizations or websites.

Advocating for the return of Paul's and Zabeth's three children, in MCFD care since October 2007.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

THE CHILD / Part 338 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

On Thursday evening a Commenter from the USA left a request for me to publicize a worthwhile cinematic production called “THE CHILD.” It is being completed as we speak with scrupulous editing and with integration of music and narration. The sponsor of this project is an American based organization called about which I have written favorably in the past.

The comment contact wrote, “Ron, could you please let your readers know more info regarding the upcoming film on parental rights.” So here for the American blog readers is this message: “You can help us premiere “The Child” all across the U.S. on November 20, 2010 by hosting a public screening in your area! If you can arrange a public venue for the screening and commit to attending it yourself, we will supply the advertising and educational materials, as well as an advance DVD copy of “The Child,” free of charge. To request all the details, email". My PS to Canadian readers today, it may be worth your while to write this address and ask whether you can have a copy. See the promo

A well designed and easily accessible, highly informative website greets you when you double click . I truly wish that there was something comparable in Canada. I wish there was an identifiable national organization comprised of Canadians such as the thousands who now read this GPS blog who would care enough to administer, sponsor, promote and champion the cause of asserting the rights of parents in Canada, the true best interests of children, and a citizen friendly Ministry of Children.
Advocating for the return of Paul's and Zabeth's three children, in MCFD care since October 2007.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Adoption by family member

To the 1:23 PM Anonymous of October 13 who wrote asking whether MCFD would agree to a family member adopting one's child, please contact me at

OUR OWN EXPERIENCE / Part 337 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

This post is significant enough to me that it will serve as my entry for the next couple of days. It represents a response to a comment left by an Anonymous writer days ago. 

Hello Anon, I have appreciated many of your comments in the past. Yes technology permits me to discern some identifying features of even Anons. Yours is a provocative comment tonight, by which I mean it causes me to stop and to deliberate a great deal. Your questions and ideas fascinate me. So permit me to speak to some of them. I may even use this one morning as a post. Well here it is.

Christine and I loved our children from the get go. They were beautiful. We were college graduates and old enough for this responsibility of parenthood and desirous for it. We each had extended families in which there had been love and healthy relationships endured.

I am old enough now that my own children are mature adults with families of their own. When my wife and I were younger and starting our family it was in a small Ontario town. I was a freshman pastor. We were determined to be wise and loving parents and to that end we read relevant books and we attended family life seminars. My children were the only small children in the church. As we gained respect and influence both in the church and in the community young families began to attend. Instruction was given in family care and rearing with all of the pertinent subjects such as discipline and values teaching and of course in the church context, spiritual values. The small church became known for its children's programs.

My career took me to different locations over the years yet as our children grew, my wife and I were even more deeply committed to the belief that our most important accomplishment in life would be to nurture good children into responsible adults. Personal time was invaluable. My wife and I took our children on dates, a mother with a son, a father with a daughter, making them feel special and learning to know and love one another and talk about life and important things and even silly things. We filled their lives with good friends both children and adults. We encouraged their pursuits in sports and the arts.

I did not intend to succeed in my career and fail as a dad. I recall informing a large Toronto church interested in having me come as their senior pastor that while I would give all I had to my work, on my list of priorities my family came first. My children were entering their teens at that time. We viewed family vacations as relationship building times after months of intense dedication to school and work. The family stayed tight in large part due to my wife's dedication. She deserves most of the credit. After ten years in Toronto and making plans to move west here to Cloverdale, my university enrolled children stood with us to say farewell to all of our Toronto friends. My children achieving on their own were also testaments that Christine and I had made the right choices. Since we knew that a move west was life changing and probably permanent, we travelled to Peterborough and Smiths Falls as well with our children to say goodbyes to friends we had made over the years.

Now as you have seen in other online sources, I am a grandfather. I am proud of my children and their spouses and their children. We have just recently gathered exuberantly at a Thanksgiving table and we gave thanks to God for so much, not least of all for our families. We walked together, and picked hazlenuts, and played and loved the day. Perhaps you knew this next brief point would be made by a retired pastor. My wife and I early in our life together dedicated our children to God and trusted him to help us and to do for them all that we could not do ourselves to develop them into people who honour righteous values by their lives. Obviously people make personal choices so in that sense there are no guarantees, but we believed that God could override all that was unforeseen.

I have spoken with my children and their spouses numerous times about the Bayne case and child protection in general, the need to protect children, the apparent injustices of some actions with families, the impact of apprehensions upon children, and all of the pursuant subjects. They find it intolerable to think that removal is so prevalent a tool in addressing domestic complaints. They find the invasiveness of government interference abhorrent as I do when stringent accountability to Victoria does not seem to be incorporated into this structure. They are well aware that some situations require for the sake of children, a preventative step of removal and believe that this should be rare and only an initial step to wholesome family reestablishment. They lead busy lives. They do not with regularity I think follow my blog. They ask me occasionally how things are with the Baynes. They hope as so many of you do too, that the Baynes will receive their children without conditions and forever.

At various times I have alerted others about this case. I am not a champion of anything, trumpeting to everyone in my sphere of influence and friendship what I am doing with regard to MCFD and the Baynes. Word spreads. I do however take occasion to ask people who pray, to pray. I am still one of those who believe that God hears.
You asked, “What would a family conference program look like that would be on the same scale as the recently reference social worker association conference?” At this moment, I do not know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile Wednesday

Don't you admire the medical rescue workers who have been lowered into the mine to prepare the miners for lift off? -- This is a 7:32 PM Update: All 33 miners are out and the 4th rescuer is on his trip to the surface. Imagine being the 5th and last person to place himself in the capsule and to leave the lighting and camera in the mine which will be sealed forever.

A LESSON TO BE LEARNED / Part 336 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

As a sequel to yesterday's post about injustice and wrongful allegation I am revisiting the true and fairly recent story of the Webster family. I told you about them earlier yet please digest this again. It is heart wrenching and maddening and terribly parallel to the family configuration of the Baynes.

It was in 2004 that a court ruled that the Websters had intentionally harmed one of their three children. They had two sons and a daughter. However, three years later, medical and scientific evidence validated that the bone fractures might have resulted from a rare case of scurvy. Scurvy? Yes scurvy. Do you think that might have been discovered if there had been one more medical opinion sought? MAYBE! Lord Justice Wall said: "For Mr and Mrs Webster, the case has been a disaster, quite apart from any breach of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. ...From their perspective they have been wrongly accused of physically abusing one of their children, and three of their children have been removed wrongly and permanently from their care....The only mitigation, from their point of view, is the local authority's belated recognition that they are fit and able to care for Brandon." But, he ruled, the social workers and medical staff involved in this "unhappy case" were only doing their best for the safety of the injured child. Sure and we admit that with regard to the Baynes in the early stages and weeks of this now three year old case. That Justice then said said that the type of fractures suffered by Child B were closely associated with abuse and non-accidental injuries were much more common than scurvy. And of course in a similar way Baby B Bayne's injuries appeared to be non accidental and to be explained as the result of abuse in the initial findings and diagnosis.

Then the Justice stated one the significant conclusions of that case. "If there is a lesson to be learned from the case it is the need to obtain second opinions on injuries to children at the earliest opportunity, particularly in cases where, as here, the facts are unusual."

Really? How novel! And in the case of the injuries sustained by the Bayne's youngest child, how many opinions did the Ministry of Children's investigative team seek? Oh that's right, ONE - the original diagnosis that prompted the alert.

Then the Justice added: "The medical evidence (scurvy) obtained in 2007 could and should have been obtained by the parents in 2004.” Well blow me down. Here, with respect to the Baynes, the parents themselves have secured ten disputing medical experts and still the MCFD counsel representing the Director wants to discount all of these as hogwash.That is huge, yet why should the accused parents make that discovery rather than the investigators whose job it is to get to the bottom of these cases? Why do the logical aspects of these matters seem so evident to people who are lay to the particular discipline or profession? The last comment is an aside, a venting of an often recurring thought irrelevant to the issue today.

Mark and Nicky launched a legal attempt to regain custody of their children then aged eight, seven and six. The Court of Appeal in Britain ruled that while the removal of the children was possibly wrong, the adoption of those children was final. Their children were removed wrongly and permanently.
But despite an admission that the parents may have been wronged, the Court of Appeal ruled it was too late to turn back the clock because adoption was final.

"However heartbreaking it may be for Mr and Mrs Webster, those orders must stand."

And MCFD would like to say something similar to the Baynes it seems. Regardless of any errors in judgement that we may have made, we acted in good faith, and we still think you are a risk even though we have no real proof, and we know you would like your children back, but TOO BAD SO SAD! Okay, maybe the last bit is overstated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The first of 33 miners entombed for two months was hoisted to the surface at 11:11 PM Chilean time. They are emerging from the darkness.

TERMS OF JUSTICE / Part 335 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Given our Canadian Rights and Freedoms, a miscarriage of justice within our Canadian legal and social context is essentially the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime that he/she did not commit. Synonymous with miscarriage of justice is the term 'wrongful conviction' which refers to conviction reached in an unfair and disputed trial. Occasionally the biased term 'travesty of justice' is applied to an offensive and deliberate miscarriage of justice

There are avenues by which to quash or overturn a wrongful conviction but these are difficult to navigate and achieve. We all agree that the most grievous cases are wrongful convictions that are not overturned for many years or before the convicted but innocent person dies by execution or natural death while incarcerated.

But here we are discussing not a criminal but a civil matter, a child protection issue, where the suspicion card is played as strategically and effectively as the evidence card. The suspicion card is an incredible card because it permits the player to proceed directly to the goal without passing GO and yet collects thousands of dollars en route. That's what has happened to date. Now however, the court case required the player to present the suspicion so convincingly that suspicion should be regarded as equivalent to evidence. Circumstantial is to be regarded as actual. What a leap! What an hypothesis! What fertile ground for ---------MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE.

In the case of the Baynes what we have is not a conviction at all because there have been no legal criminal charges brought against the Baynes. So, no, they have not been wrongfully convicted. Yet a penalty has been imposed already, not only upon a mom and dad who are suspected by the Ministry of Children of harming their youngest child, but also upon the three children whom we all would concur are truly innocent. October 22nd is quickly approaching, the date that marks the removal of the children in 2007. This family has been enduring this penalty, surviving somehow, for the past almost three years.

How Mss. Polak and Dutoit cannot be concerned, or troubled, perhaps appalled, intelligibly sickened by the injustice of this aspect of their Ministry operations I fail to understand. At least be attentive to it. Forget that this case has been before the court since January. There was ample time before the actual court date for a top level intervention, some kind of compassionate involvement to second-guess and inquire into the case handling by the Fraser Valley Region of the Provincial MCFD mandate.

Let's suppose that the Judge's ruling does not move in favour of the Baynes. The children remain in provincial foster care. Let's suppose it proceeds beyond that to the adoption of the children.

Years in care can have a substantial, irreversible effect on the maturing child becoming an adolescent and an adult. In a case such as the Baynes, a CCO (Continuing Care Order) with its potential for adopting the child to new adoptive parents, the child will never have cause to believe that one or more parent did not abuse her when she was an infant. Their reputations will never have been officially untarnished. She may want nothing to do with her birth parents when she is of age to find them. Her sibling brothers may or may not be adopted with her. The sibling relationship will be effectively severed. And the boys if they remain together may always wonder why the parents with whom they could not live for three years but who visited them faithfully during those three years dropped out of sight and didn't visit any longer. And Paul and Zabeth, fifteen and twenty years from now will be moving out of middle age with hearts wounded irreparably and with lives scarred deeply because the children who were their life, have never been a part of it. 

Judge Crabtree must decide against the Continuing Care Order, forget the Last Chance Order/Temporary Care Order, or any other option that credits the MCFD with any credibility whatsoever. Allow the children to return to their parents. It is the right thing to do. It is IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Patrick and Emily Zimmerman / Part 336 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

I have been asked to tell the story of another couple whose situation has some strong parallels to Paul's and Zabeth's. This reality story has some wrenching aspects. The couple's names are Patrick and Emily Zimmerman and Emily has invited the disclosure of her situation. Once again shaken baby syndrome is integral to this disturbing story, a diagnosis which many bio-mechanics and pathologists dispute. Here is the story in Emily's own words.

In August of 2009, our lives changed forever. Our son, Tristan, was two months of age. He had begun smiling and cooing, becoming a very social little boy. On the 13th, Tristan had his two month check up. He received his two month immunizations that day. Tristan was sleepy that day and the next, as we were told he would be due to the shots.

On the 15th of August, Tristan awoke early morning for a feeding. He customarily ate every three hours. After his feeding that morning, I burped him and he vomited in a projectile manner. Tristan continued to projectile vomit that day, and being concerned and seeing no resolution to his vomiting, I took him in to the emergency room the following afternoon. He was assessed to be mildly dehydrated, was given IV fluids, and sent home without any explanation as to his vomiting. He had not been running a fever, and had no signs of any underlying illness.

Tristan continued his vomiting. He still ate every three hours at this point, but would vomit with every feeding. I tried everything I could to help him keep down his formula, even feeding him with a medicine syringe hoping smaller amounts would be better tolerated by him. On August 18th, I again took him into the emergency room. He was evaluated for pyloric stenosis. It was determined that wasn't the cause of his vomiting. The doctor again had no idea why he was vomiting, but suggested we switch his formula, that perhaps he was becoming intolerant to the formula. He had been eating 4 ounces every three hours since a week of age, and I didn't believe that was the problem, but nonetheless, we tried a different formula.

Tristan had become sleepier. He began sleeping longer stretches, there were times I had to wake him up to feed him. It was concerning because of his eating habits, he was a chubby little babe who liked to eat. He would cry more often when he was awake, seeming to be in pain. We were stumped as to what was ailing him.

One more appointment was made with his pediatrician on the 21st. He examined him and said he looked healthy. He had no reason why he would be vomiting, other than perhaps he was constipated and that was what was ailing him.

On August 24th, in the early morning, Tristan awoke his daddy with a high-pitched scream. I work 3rd shift and was at work. His father was later holding him when he had a seizure in his arms. 911 was called, and his father attempted mouth-to-mouth breathing while waiting for the ambulance.

Tristan was in grave condition. He was intubated when he made it to the hospital. He was not breathing well on his own, and his heart was not functioning properly. Due to the seizure activity, a CT scan was performed. Subdural bleeding was found in his head, both acute and chronic. Tristan was transferred to another hospital by helicopter.

He was suffering multiple seizures and was worsening by the minute. Subdural taps were performed to remove fluid that was accumulating in his head. He was in a coma.

Before we were allowed to see him, we were questioned by the police and the Department of Human Services. We had no idea what was going on with our son, yet we were questioned as to whether we had shaken him.

Tristan was not expected to make it through the night. We were told that he was harmed intentionally, that nothing else could have caused the bleeding in his head. The words "Shaken Baby Syndrome" were thrown at us.

Tristan had not one bruise anywhere on his body, no neck injury, no internal bleeding other than in his head and eyes, no injuries to his skull or scalp, yet we have been accused of violently shaking him. 

Tristan spent over a month in the hospital. We were told he would not be able to breathe on his own when the ventilator was removed. He came off of the ventilator without incident. He had suffered a stroke at some point and his brain began to die. He has suffered loss of about 80% of his brain.

Because the hospital determined that Tristan's condition was caused intentionally by malicious actions, my children were all removed from our care while he was in the hospital. Tristan has an older brother, Gabriel, and an older sister, Natalie, who were placed in the care of their biological father. Tristan was discharged to foster care.

We had visitation with Tristan for almost 9 months without any progression with our case. No charges had been filed. We were told that we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing.

In May of 2010, criminal charges were filed against Tristan's father, Patrick. It was then revealed by the state that they were going to press to terminate our parental rights. Patrick was then not allowed to have visitation with Tristan, though he had been allowed to see him for the entire 9 months previous to charges being filed.

In July of this year we had our termination trial. Patiently we waited for a verdict for two months.

We had been expecting a baby girl, due to arrive the beginning of October. 6 hours after her birth, the police came to the hospital with DHS and made Patrick leave. We were served with a removal order for our daughter. We were also so cruelly told that the verdict had come back in regards to our rights to Tristan, and that they were terminated. We were not told this by our counsel, but rather by the DHS worker.

Patrick's criminal trial is set for the end of November. Our parental rights have been terminated before Patrick has been given a chance to defend himself against his charges. He has been blamed as the perpetrator because he was home with Tristan at the time of his collapse.

We are now in the process of filing an appeal for our parental rights. We have also been informed that since our parental rights were terminated for Tristan, the state can file a waiver of reasonable efforts to return our daughter.”