Saturday, January 15, 2011

CONCENTRATE ON IMPROVING THE OUTCOMES / Part 419 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

This post is specific to child protection. There will have to be a change in casework practice within the Ministry of Children and Family Development in B.C. The Ministry Office in Victoria has to make changes and immediacy is imperative.

This Ministry can no longer endure bad press. Shocking stories continue. Many families who could be helped never receive help. I am talking about help. It's difficult for me as a taxpayer and fair-minded and democratic spirited man to understand why resourcing help to families is such a difficult concept to affect. Of course I do not understand all of the human dynamics of individual cases, the stresses that social workers feel when working with adults, parents who are challenged by habits, substances, and life. I do not understand how budgetary cuts have reduced the availability of services that can be offered. Still, it concerns me that we have authorized people, many with bachelor's degrees, even master's degrees in social work, to work with families and subsequently so many of these families instead of gaining strength and remaining intact, become severed as a result of MCFD's involvement. The Ministry office in Victoria hears the negative public vibrations all over the province, but it does not understand what is wrong or how it can be corrected. Regional MCFD teams are not going to initiate significant change themselves.

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We need a model of casework that ensures consistent practices which support improved outcomes for children, youth and families. It seems simplistic and it should be self evident that MCFD needs to place a greater emphasis upon intake and assessment of children, youth and families at the initial contact in every case in order to insure that the services that are planned are as effective as possible. What a novel idea to concentrate on improved outcomes for all clients using intervention supports and services. There are countless people reasons to explain why we do not have confidence that best practice and improvement is a priority to which our MCFD is committed.

This Blog has been advocating the return of three children to their biological parents, Paul and Zabeth Bayne, for which a ruling is expected from Judge Crabtree by January 19th. Stay posted.


  1. Government intervention in family problems, at times unsolvable, and prescription of family therapy are bounded to fail. Legislating a law called CFCSA is too idealistic to be practical. It promises something that no government could deliver. The public naively believes that children are better off in foster care and government should have the power to remove despite there is a tracked record of abuse of such power.

    MCFD can endure any bad publicity as longer as their SW still have the power to remove children. They will continue do business as usual. To special interests, things are working well as evident by the massive tax dollars wasted in buying their services at the expense of destroying families.

    Having a university degree does not guarantee competence or integrity. Advanced education is totally useless in an industry where there is structural corruption. Be mindful that the livelihood of special interests depend on the existence of the very problems they are supposed to solve. Their modus operandi appears to be creating, enhancing or prolonging the problems they are paid to solve.

    MCFD will not initiate positive changes on its own accord. Why should they? You can pound on the table all you want. They simply turn a blind eye.

    Despite whether you use radical or political correct sweet language, elected officials will not act until there is political consequence to themselves if they don't listen.

    New act and old act are both bad as long as it empowers government to remove children without due process of law and good evidence. It is long overdue that parents must revoke government's power to remove children. Agreeing with such power is as stupid as giving a gun to someone with a financial incentive to shoot at you.

  2. Thank you for writing Anon 1:28 AM.
    There is much with which I agree in what you have written.
    The concern is to bring awareness of troublesome issue to the right people.
    You compelled me to write again as you can see in my new post today.

  3. So true. When a Ministry's goal is to get more foster homes and more kids in custody for the year, what does that say about them? Shouldn't it be to produce better outcomes for children in custody? Don't tell me there isn't enough funding when the Ministry spends MILLIONS every year to fight to keep kids in custody. All this because many SW have the mistaken belief that children are better off in custody. Does this vaguely remind you of the argument used with the Residential Schools and the Native population decades ago? Have you looked around and seen the fall-out of that which continues to impact the current generation?

    My girlfriend naively contacted the Ministry a few years back to ask them if they could offer her some form of a parenting class for her young son, who was dealing with anger issues. Instead of offering her a class, they removed her children because she had an inadequate support system. She was never offered a class but she did spend the next 3 years fighting to get custody back against insurmountable odds (they too had filed for a CCO). I can't even begin to list the injustices committed against her in the name of one SW who felt morally superior to determine where her children best belonged and a system that is designed to support this.

  4. I hear you. I am glad that your girlfriend recovered her children and I am sorry for the grief she experienced throughout an unnecessary process.

  5. In this post, Ron wrote, "It's difficult for me as a taxpayer and fair-minded and democratic spirited man to understand why resourcing help to families is such a difficult concept to affect."

    I agree with you, Ron, 100%. However, I believe this problem is MUCH bigger than any individual province's child protection system. It's bigger than Canada. In my opinion, you are referring to the massive changes and cutbacks in our social safety net that have been occurring since the mid to late 70s. I think this lack of resources is a direct result of neo-liberal governments and globalized capitalism.

    Most of the services once offered in-house by the Ministry have long been contracted out to community services agencies - it costs less. Also, many of those contracts have been getting smaller and smaller over the years. And if a community services agency tries to increase it's operating budget by soliciting charitable donations, the government just sees this as another opportunity to reduce funding. It's a catch-22.

    I recently went out to assess a child protection report made by a police officer (please note we were assessing the report, not investigating the family). After a short conversation, the social worker I was shadowing asked the parent (actually great-grandma, but she has custody) if there was anything the Ministry could provide. The parent asked "like what?" She then explained that the children had previously been in daycare 2 days per week, but when great-grandma became the parent (got custody under the Family Relations Act), Ministry involvement ceased, and so did the subsidized daycare.

    I used to receive childcare subsidy through the provincial government, but the income test is fairly high. Even though my family's income is under $30,000/year (below the low-income cut-offs [LICO's], Stats Canada measure of poverty), we don't qualify for this subsidy.

    What would REALLY make a difference for many of the families dealing with MCFD involvement is a provincial, even a national poverty reduction plan. Ontario recently enacted such a plan, including indexing welfare to inflation. Danny Williams did it in Newfoundland, transforming that province from a "have-not" province (re equalization payments).

    If we want to help these families, we need to get our elected representatives to change the way resources are funded in this country. Write letters. Support advocacy movements such as PovNet ( and First Call ( Take public action.


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