Monday, November 29, 2010

THE EARLY INTERVENTION CONCENTRATION / Part 382 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Do you see what is going on here?

Victoria, you have to pay attention here! THE CITIZENRY DO NOT WANT THIS.
Header from Autism Association of Western Australia
It is discreetly profiled in MCFD literature. The Ministry of Children in B.C. is practicing a policy of early intervention as well as the often criticized reactive services to serious problems, albeit under the umbrella of the Child and Family Community Services Act. Yes I understand that the term 'early intervention' applies to a diverse range of assistance situations, many of which I would certainly affirm. A true early intervention program provides services. Early Intervention is appealing. It clearly decreases the harm and suffering that can be experienced by children. To address concerns early proves to be very helpful in assisting a child's development and less complicated than arresting developmental concerns for older children later. Costs can also be reduced when good responses are made early rather than when troubled children become disturbed youth and adults. However, I speak of the emphasis with respect to child protection cases in which Early Intervention is also being practiced, and this is where I have problems. Not early involvement of services but early involvement of government and professionals in your family life creates some significant and perhaps enduring issues.

This emergent child welfare theme that promotes prevention and early intervention services appears attractively altruistic but it is creating an ethical dilemma. Even conscientious social workers find this emphasis a challenge if they are thoughtful. How are they to balance respect for service users with concern for social justice. You see the great issue is that an early intervention emphasis is effectively shifting the balance of power away from families towards the BC government and toward professionals making the decisions about the lives of children. That's right, and that is what a great many of you commentators have been telling me long before I thought about it. Those of you who feel that you have been shafted by this MCFD have caught on much sooner than some of the rest of us. Who decides what is in your child’s best interests? Many of you will attest that the government is making the decision, that is, someone employed by the government. Someone who goes home at night and can ignore until tomorrow, or next month, or next year, that a specific child is not at home while this process grinds.


  1. In the UK one of the child welfare authorities caused the death of a child due to negligence and a scandal erupted which caused a judicial inquiry. After the inquiry the judge declared the authority to be "unfit for purpose".What a nice turn of phrase and how well it would fit British Columbia. In the Bayne case though, it would be too big an understatement to be apt. Adjectives like cruel, dishonourable,wilfully ignorant and hostile come more readily to mind. Unfit for purpose would be a compliment,

  2. I gather you are referring to the MCFD-funded Hertzman study on the benefits of early intervention to improve learning outcomes for kids-at-risk to age 5. covered in blog 343.

    It is indeed frightening to think of MCFD thinking far ahead of themselves, on how to worm their way into more, and younger children's lives to inflict their special brand of "help".

    A most notable comment from the CBC story from a former social worker who summed up his job and matches my experience exactly:

    "I left my career as I felt like such a job was to look like I was protecting children without doing anything that might cost a penny. This ministry has been a bad joke ever since Ross Dawson left..."

    Enough said.
    Now, this "Ross Dawson" guy is mentioned by the RoadKill Radio folks as being run out off office. Search his name snd Ministry of Children to see the old stories from 2000.

  3. Thanks Anon 8:17 PM
    given me more food for thought

  4. I was at a Literacy program with my daughter who was in foster care this past year. I went to such programs with all of my children and they are all good in school. However, I do not trust the government to do a good job on this one. I think that MCFD has become so confused and it is no longer a reputable agency. It is not the right agency to help children.
    I felt so validated by the points of view of the Early Literacy teacher. I think it is important for children to play and the parents to be a warm presence in their lives. MCFD makes parents and children feel terrible about themselves and does not have a lighthearted approach. They are very hard on kids and make it hard for them to learn because of the stress of the siblings being separated and the parents in court.

  5. Jenny 7:40 AM Nov 30
    Is your daughter back home with you now?
    If so, what was the turning point?

  6. Hi, yes she is back. Do you mean the turning point with MCFD?
    I was fortunate to have had my file transferred to a different office. That was a fluke based on a different address I use and it was not intended to help me, necessarily. The SWs at the second office were much nicer and saw me in a much better light than originally intended.
    Also, my family started to really advocate on my behalf and give a much better picture of who I am.
    It was not one specific thing as I did have to go to court many times as well. I remember that we spent the entire last year visiting our children under supervision and showing that we do get along with each other well.
    All the same, it is no guarantee that you will meet a nice SW. I do not know what my future holds either as I am still under an open file and it will go to yet another SW and another office.

  7. Jenny, it is possible they are trying to dupe you by pretending to be your friend. This is a common ploy. I would not engage with them. I would have a lawyer send them a very tough letter, go to a high profile lawyer if you can. Draft the letter yourself, outlining your strengths and MCFD's weak case, in very dry terms - do not be emotional - do not sound like a Jerry Springer show - just be very matter of fact. Then take the letter to a high profile lawyer and tell him or her that you want it sent by them.

    NEVER trust MCFD. Doing so could cause you to lose your children.


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