Friday, December 10, 2010

A FAMILY WAITS FOR THE WORD / Part 394 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

If Judge Crabtree, Bruce McNeill, Finn Jensen or anyone else needs some validation that the best interests of the three Bayne children will be best served by a permanent and unqualified return to their biological parental home where the fitness of the Bayne parents and grandparents to care for the children is unquestioned, then these photos should be seen. Judge Crabtree ordered a six hour family visit each Saturday in the home of the Baynes and these children provide evidence that this is where they belong and where they desire to live. Again, must I qualify this by clarifying that the previous comment is no reflection upon the present foster family. This is not a contest or comparison. I speak to what is just and right and timely. This is a biological family. It's been three years. These children need their parents. Paul and Zabeth prepared their home for the return of the children. Or perhaps better stated, their home has always retained a readiness for the return of the children.
Daddy and Bethany and fluffy toys

Baden and stuffy toys on his bed
Boys bedroom
Their daughter has a bedroom of her own and it is suitably girly and made for a princess. She loves her bed and she lays her soft toys in order and they wait for her return the following week. Her habitation there should not be a weekly visit but 24/7. The boys as well have a bedroom and at their request, Paul and Zabeth kept the beds that the boys remember because that is what the boys requested. When these children return home permanently the family will shop for 'big boy' beds. 

Kent and a tie like Bumpa's
It doesn't have to be much to make a child happy. Kent is wearing a cowboy tie like his Bumpa wears so he is content.

Mommy and Bethany at the piano

Music is a large slice of life for Zabeth, although it has been on hold during her ordeal. Perhaps when the children are returned her interest will revive and perhaps one or more of her children may want to learn to play.

Bumpa and Baden at quiet play

Grandpa and Grandma are able to visit their grandchildren on these days. It must mean so much. Grandparents suffer as well when their children and their grandchildren are separated and a family world is in disarray. How agonizing it must be for them to think that Judge Crabtree must decide whether or not the Ministry should keep the children. That ruling may be 5-7 weeks away.

Children's Playroom

A children's room is filled with appealing opportunities for hours of play.

Mommy and Bethany
Mommy loves her little girl and Bethany has done so well. There are so many reasons for thanksgiving. Now we are trusting that the wait will not be long until the Judge permits this family to be reunited and they can be together in their own home without a supervisor or a caseworker second guessing all their actions.  

These photos were taken from a Facebook entry and Facebook friends may see all the photos here. 


  1. Were all waiting for these words also!

  2. These wonderful photos are just more confirmation that this loving family should be reunited as soon as possible.

  3. Are not the early yrs of a childs life help or I should say make the foundation of their entire lifetime? What better place to build well rounded confident children than with their parents.

  4. As Dorothy once said "There's no place like home". Please O great and powerful wizard rip open the curtain and let those children come home.

  5. Ron; thanks for those photos--they help keep me working for the Baynes. They are my topic today---eventually.
    Judge Ted Hughes is a well-known name in this province. He is the author of the Hughes report, which led to appointing Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and her office. I think that he did a sincere and diligent job, but that he made a lot of mistakes. He did not get the right answers because he did not Know the right questions to ask. Like Ron, he assumed that the ministry was largely working and had a few unfortunate glitches. Unlike Ron, it took him a long time to become disillusioned.
    The first mistake he made was to sssume that the problems with the ministry were caused by lack of leadership. He had the first bit right. He then assumed that this was because of frequent change of ministers and deputies. Wrong. Ministers have no power and cannot lead if they want to . Deputy ministers have never given leadership. They have always been entrenched bureaucrats who only provide process and spin. The legislature, in its wisdom decreed that the minister must have a hands off relationship with the ministry staff. This was to avoid political interference in appropriate professional decisions. The legislature, in its innocence did not know that most of the staff did not have the ability or the trainig to make good professional decisions.
    Another mistake that Judge Hughes made was was in the terms of reference of the Rep for children and youth. He looked at the former children's commissioner, Paul Paulen, and decided that he was too adversarial. Well, well, when Paulen found that he was always faced with a resolutely adversarial deputy minister, what choices were there. He could back down, or advocate with vigour. Adversarial with very good reason. Did Judge Hughes speak with Paulen, or any of the former ministers to find out what they thought? He does not say so. The rotation of deputies was largely caused because they were moved following embarrassing blunders that got into the media. Anyway, because of Paul Paulen, Judge Hughes recommended that the new watchdog should have no teeth. He said that giving powers to overrule would make the MCFD unmanageable. Well, who says they are manageable? So now we have a watchdog whose main powers are with dead babies and certain limited advocacy functions. She can bark, but she cannot bite.
    How does this relate to the Baynes? I am getting there. We mentioned a few days ago on the blog that the director was trying to get involved in the Zabeth's pregnancy. Ron and I agreed that this should be a cause for alarm for all the Bayne supporters. Bruce McNeill has peresecuted them for three years, so why should he stop now. Strong statement? Ron reminded us recently that his lawyer advised him to drop the case over two years ago, but he has forged ahead, heedless of the needs of the children. Continued.

  6. Continued

    Anyway when the director started to make veiled threats agains the Baynes if they failed to cooperate with ministry staff by agreeing to meet, they were terrified and did not know what to do. Eventually they expressed a willingness to meet with the director's designate, with two conditions. First they must get a very clear and specific statement as to the purpose of the meetings. Secondly, they must have a competent advocate present. Ron wondered about the office for children and youth. At first I was reluctant to go that route because they cannot touch a case when it is before court. Then it struck me that the unborn baby is not before court, so it would be worth a try. Silly me!! I should have known better. So I went right ahead and wrote to ask the Baynes' case officer to sit in on the meeting as advocate. I then underwent a steep learning curve and I will share my experience.
    Zabeth wrote to confirm her support for my position and asked him to get back to her. He phoned her soon after. Now I want to make one thing clear. Most of Zabeth's communications to the advocate have been in writing, but all the responses have been by telephone. So I caution that all my information about his position is what Zabeth thinks she heard him say. So we can prove what we said, but we cannot prove the response. She had two phone talks with her rep. In the first one she thought he was very encouraging and supported our position. The second one was after talking with McNeill and his boss and he seemed to backtrack quite a bit. What transpired was something that is common to all bureaucracies like the ministry, the ombudsperson's office, review systems and members of the legislative assembly. They always have a long list of all the things they cannot do, but the things they can do provide meagre pickings. Just about everything was excluded. The mandate exlcludes expected children, but includes dead babies. Cases before court are excluded, but children in care are in the mandate. How about children in care who are before court? No information. How are children in care able to access advocacy? Who knows? Access problems can be addressed. No specific information and is being explored.
    NOW HERE IS THE REAL KILLER. Apparently Bruce McNeill was quite willing to have the rep sit in on the meeting with the Baynes. Even though both parties are willing, the mandate does not allow him to do it. Amazing discovery!! The office of the child rep is a process driven bureaucracy just like any other. They are totally rigid and cannot do the obvious common sense and humane thing that would help solve the problem. As far as I can see the YCR cannot do anything as an advocate that could not be done by any Tom, Dick or Harry, with one exception. The social worker cannot refuse to talk to them on the grounds of confidentiality. Next week I want to write about how all the government bodies and the courts drown all their objectives in process.

  7. Great photos!

    Obviously when the Ministry did the home check and found no deficiencies and gave the go-ahead for home visits, there were no concerns.

    What, exactly has the Ministry communicated as their existing list of concerns that would prevent a no-supervision Christmas visit, or at the very least, a non-professional supervisor(s) acceptable to the Director?

  8. Anon 1:48 PM
    Thanks for asking. No reasons given other than the Director continues to consider the Baynes to be a risk and there is no further supportive reasons for that conclusion but the sole reason that has driven this train from day #1, Bethany's injuries deemed by a VCH child protection unit/pediatrician to be non accidental, so since the Director opposes unsupervised visits, this application has gone back to Judge Crabtree and he will make the decision to allow this or not. Wouldn't it be a celebration if he says you bet they can be at home unsupervised for Christmas because I am ruling that they are being returned permanently.

  9. To: Alison @ December 9, 2010 7:27 PM

    I am the Anon who wrote on December 9, 2010 2:24 PM

    You took enough beating from CW today. So I will go easy on you.

    1. I am aware that some MCFD SW do not have a SW designation. You are quite justified that these thugs have tarnished the title SW. It will be interesting to see whether the BC Association of Social Workers will be successful in putting a leash on these dogs. The association of course would like to collect more membership due.

    2. MCFD has unlimited resources in relation to the resources available to most parents. Unless you are richer than Bill Gates, MCFD is formidable at every front.

    3. Everyone knows that MLA make laws and budget. In the "child protection" context and many others, they are influenced by the lobbying activities of special interests, hence SW and their accomplice collectively change systems and customs assisted by the ignorance and apathy of the public.

    4. I am unsure whether SW jobs at the front line level drops since the BC Liberal took power. In 2006, Carole Taylor made the famous "Sherry Charlie" budget that specifically added $72 million to hire more social workers and front line staff. MCFD total budget (in $000) keeps increasing as follows:

    2006 1,836,295
    2007 1,866,644
    2008 1,987,004
    2009 1,402,713

    Note that legal expenses to seek all CFCSA applications and to defend MCFD against wrongful death and other lawsuits are not included above.

    The drop in 2009 is due to the exclusion of Community Living Services Vote (God knows what this is and where they commingle it with now) in the total MCFD budget.

    The term social control agent grossly undermines the real nature of "child protection" SW. They are secret police with no law enforcement training but given more power than a provincial court judge to enforce, police, judge and deliver sentence in "child protection" law as they please with no accountability.

    Speaking of blow whistler, watch this

    It gives you a preview of what you are getting yourself into. Once you are on the payroll, they will either corrupt you, or if you choose your conscience, they will fire you or marginalized you until you quit.

    Good luck, kido.

  10. Absolutely, there would be a huge celebration for the Baynes' family, friends, supporters and people across the world who have been following their story and this blog!

    The new pictures are lovely, the reality of this family together is nothing short of beautiful!

    How frustrating our "child welfare" system is. How can the director possibly think veiled threats to their unborn child constitute concern of any sort? There is no justification for this.

    I am bewildered by this because the Bruce McNeill I once knew was kind and compassionate and caring. But, increasing the stress for Zabeth (with threats and demands)during an already high-risk pregnancy - just further increases the risk to their unborn baby of a premature birth! Bruce, I appeal to you to do everything in your power to stop this needless cruelty and restore this family to wholeness. We all know their case is in Judge Crabtree's hands now. But, there is a new little life who needs all the time he can get to develop fully inside his mother's womb. If you truly care about child welfare, show it by your actions - and direct your workers to do the same. As director, you are responsible for their actions. Enough is enough.

  11. Yes, Bruce, enough is enough.

    When you are old and gray and sitting by the fire, what is it you think you will regret?

    Everyone knows where those children should be. Let's end this charade.

  12. The Baynes have the right to record everything. Why aren't they doing this (e.g., with telephone calls)?

  13. Recording telephone calls:

    Consent to interception

    183.1 Where a private communication is originated by more than one person or is intended by the originator thereof to be received by more than one person, a consent to the interception thereof by any one of those persons is sufficient consent for the purposes of any provision of this Part.
    1993, c. 40, s. 2.

    In other words, only one party (e.g., Zabeth) has to consent. Start recording, people!

  14. Hi again, Anonymous (December 10, 2010 3:20 PM)

    I wrote you a long response, but my internet connection likes to flicker on and off, so I lost the comment. The following is an abbreviated version:

    Point #2. Ah, yes, you are correct, and I misunderstood. With the legislature's cuts to Legal Aid, it seems pretty hopeless for anyone to find a decent and affordable lawyer.
    I'm coming from the perspective of a community services agency volunteer. I am a crisis line worker, and I regularly try to match up callers with services. I am extremely frustrated with the lack of programming available. This neo-liberal version of Canada is NOT the country I had such pride in while growing up.


    I don't think a child protection officer has more power than a judge? My Law prof regularly emphasizes that neither my opinion nor 'dirt and disorder' are sufficient as evidence to satisfy the court.


    That video was grim. Thanks for the "Good luck, kido."


    I don't see why people want me to take a "beating" on behalf of MCFD bureaucracy and child protection officers.

    I'm actually more interested in anti-racism, Indigenous studies, ethics, evidence-based practice and developmental psychology than in child protection per se. My commitment as a child protection worker would be to FAMILIES.

    I'd like to complete UFV's Aboriginal Studies Certificate (with Canada Council Research Chair Hugh Brody & the Stolo Nation), and work for Xyolhemeylh or VACFASS, maybe even as a band social worker one day.

    I'm following this blog as a citizen wanting to take action to transform her democracy, including MCFD. I don't know that it's possible, but aren't folks glad there's someone out there willing to try?

  15. The reason that Turpel-Lafond does not have a mandate to intercede on behalf is the exact same reason that MCFD is attempting extortion rather than a mandated duty. It is very simple actually, although MCFD attempts to justify it's position. As the LAW now stands, MCFD is operating ILLEGALLY. In Canada - "A CHILD is not a CHILD until it is BORN." This is a hard and true fact, regardless of any personal bias on this issue. So MCFD, please explain your actions in this area.

    Ron, I stumbled upon an interesting book that has an interesting perspective that is exactly what you were asking for recently.

  16. CPE 10:49 PM
    That link looks like some promising reading, thanks for sending it.

  17. If McNeil actually writes in his letter he has no legal basis on which to compell the Baynes to enroll in "services" before birth, what he is hinting is that when the child is born, the child's safety would be assessed at that time. If it is determined "services" are required and the parents have alread refused, then he is entitled to remove.

    MCFD is again trying to convince the family to take a parental capacity assessment, no doubt with a psychologist of the Ministry's choice. With a section 59 available to force the family to comply with such an assessment, I am wondering why the Director has not yet taken this step. Perhaps Ray could respond if there are limitations to a section 59 application, as I have heard parents cannot be so compelled before finding of protection is declared.

    I see the tact as getting the offering of services out of the way, so that if the Baynes refuses the offer, this paves the way for removal as opposed to a supervision order because 'all avenues of assistance' have been tried and refused.

    If the parents accept _anything_ before Crabtree's decision, MCFD has a foot in the door that justifies all past intervention, and they get to keep the file open far past the court decision, regardless if it orders a return, or any sort of 'last chance' options.

    What is odd is that in light of a CCO, the Director now deems the family worthy of services, where as before, they were not.

    The significance that I see here is McNeill himself is writing, not the new community service manager (Fitzsimmons is gone) or team leader or the social worker(s).

    The fellow is essentially playing a game of chicken with this family, and he is clearly hoping they will relent before the Crabtree decision and before the birth of the child.

    It is certainly an interesting dilemma for the judge, the Director and MCFD as a whole. Here we have a remarkable example of child protection waste of resources on this one case that would fund literally hundreds of pre-removal services for needy families.

    We are not talking about whether or not social workers are compromising their integrity, we are looking at a massive interlocking system that is functioning right now to PERMIT this magnitude of intervention.

    The Basi/Virk affair, we read of the government bailing (

    My question as a taxpayer is what logic justifies this magnitude of government intervention with the Baynes? What social worker training would permit this magnitude of abuse to the children keeping them in limbo, bouncing them from multiple homes (parents, grandparents, 3 foster homes)?

    The fact the government is not able to come up with a more equitable solution essentially means a handful of families can hold MCFD ransom and force them to expend limited resources so they are not available to truly needy families. The government has exposed themselves by demonstrating that they do not have the will, or perhaps the ability to back out.


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