Much abuse goes unnoticed yet we are spending millions of dollars to keep children safe. Each year Ministry workers falsely accuse some parents and none of the money stems that transgression. Poverty is frequently and unjustifably equated with neglect, yet as one late night commenter stated yesterday, poor families do not equate to a higher incidence of child protection. The stories of how families are treated once they have come within the sweep of MCFD's radar are never happy. Some of the innocent families that have been victimized have hit the public news channels and front pages but not enough, because there are so many others.
A shift occurred in the 1960's when child abuse and neglect which were once treated as crimes began to be viewed as a treatable illness for which therapists, doctors and social workers were prepared to provide advice and to order help and resources. In conjunction with this diagnostic shift, cases of abuse and neglect were no longer prosecuted but rather sent to family court which orders treatment. What I believe is forfeited is fairness and timeliness. So many of you readers have already told me that. Criminals are fully informed of their rights. They have an attorney to represent them even when they cannot afford one. The same is not true for accused parents. They do not get a jury of peers. They do not have the opportunity to face and to cross-examine their accusers. They do not even receive the right to insist that any evidence that is employed against them should meet the highest of standards. And we have underscored before the absence of presumption of innocence and the insistence of guilt being beyond all reasonable doubt? Or, what about not being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, because that is precisely what some clinical dispassionate MCFD operations look like. There is no protection for parents accused of maltreatment of a child. Oh, but here is the disparity. If the Baynes had been formally criminally charged and tried, they would have been afforded all sorts of protections and provisions. Oh, so that imbalance and disparity is not MCFD's responsibility? No, but MCFD certainly works it.
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 within the next eight days. Stay posted.