Thursday, January 6, 2011

NEEDED: A MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE / Part 410 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Thus far on this blog site, advocacy has been prioritized toward the reunification of the three children of Paul and Zabeth Bayne. That advocacy has been primarily an 'awareness raising' focus because it has pointed to perceived weaknesses, shortcomings, errors and failures in child protection delivery and practice. The outcome for this family will come not from changes to the existing system but from a judge's ruling within just a few days.
However, changes or reforms to child protection policy and practice would help the countless others locked into the same cycle of heartache that the Baynes have experienced over the past three years and two months.

Changes to the existing system are absolutely imperative for the sake of families needlessly torn apart, for the sake of children needlessly torn from their parents and everyone who is loving and familiar, for the sake of children needlessly subjected to a chaotic system of foster care, for the sake of parents who needlessly lose children, dignity, resources, jobs and sanity, and for the sake of child protection workers who could devote their time to locating children who are in real danger.

Those necessary changes require more than 'awareness raising.' Actual change requires amendments to the existing Child and Family Community Services Act and the ways by which it is being interpreted by both the Ministry of Children workers and by the legal system. Recommendations for such changes must be made by those who have gained a good reputation for clear-headed discernment of child protection issues in our society and for a common sense compassionate agenda for family preservation. Perhaps then we may gain an audience in this province among well-respected journalists and reform-minded child welfare professionals who will step up to become advocates for change in their own disciplines.

What is needed for British Columbia and for that matter, in Canada, is a movement that becomes an extraordinary advocate for child welfare reform with an impact all over the country. Such a movement will distinguish itself as a voice of reason that can discuss the defects of the Ministry of Children without resorting to rhetoric that denounces the Third Reich. It will be a movement that provides insights into child welfare practices across the country by helping to distill thinking about the correct role and responsibility for government in the lives of children and families.
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 two weeks. Stay posted.


  1. The story of Josef Fisher is a tragic one and one once more goes to show the power imbalance between ministry and parent, or ministry and foster parent.
    When you put that power into the hands of functionaries whose minds seem to operate like automatons the prospect is chilling. Let it be some comfort to Josef that nobody discriminated against him. He got the same even-handed treatment that everyone gets---consistently rotten.
    When we look at cases like the Bayne family, we hear from a lot more parents who have suffered the loss of their children and who have had great difficulty getting their day in court. Oh, if only these people could get a quick hearing, with competent advocacy. How much suffering would be saved!!! We often forget that foster parents can suffer just as much as natural parents. I can assure you that when little 12 year old Rosanah was snatched from the only home she had known for ten years, for the Haldorsons it was like losing their own daughter. Indeed in every emotional aspect, they did lose their own daughter. Even worse, as foster parents, they could never have their day in court and poor Rosanah did not get to have any say.
    Now consider this. The BC foster parents association reported to Judge Gove that they had tracked 200 foster home closings which went through appeal. The association felt that many, if not most of these closings were not justified. Yet only four cases-2% were reversed on appeal. I think that anyone who thinks that the MCF gets it right 98% of the time is living in cloud cuckoo land. Many of the bureaucrats seem to be "as thick as bricks" but I doubt whether even the thickest of the thick would believe 98%' I would say 30% tops. That means 140 good homes lost to child welfare services.Some illustrations. I already told you about Mrs. W.H. She had taken 13 different children over 9 years. Many of them were very difficult. They always got good appraisals, yet it only took one letter from a disgruntled pollceman to shut them down, with no appeal. It later turned out that the policeman was mistaken and the foster child did not commit a crime. No matter, they never admit to a mistake and never change their minds.
    Another foster home had taken a brain damaged kid as their first one and brought him along to the point where he could live with a relative. The next early teenage boy had a mentally ill mother. The plan was to keep him apart from her, as he was beginning to show bizarre behaviour. However, they were in frequent telephone contact. I knew these foster parents well and they were kind and responsible people. The boys mother phoned the social worker and alleged that the foster mother had pushed him down the cellar stairs. This immediately launched an intensive investigation. The foster parents were cleared, but every few days a new allegation arose. Each time a new intensive investigation was launched and the home was cleared. Just how stupid can you get. The worker should have just told the boy not to be so stupid and waste staff time. Oh no, they said every complaint must be investigated. It is in the policy manual. Yet when the foster parents tried to phone the social worker they could never get hold of him. Eventually they complained to the supervisor that they could not reach the social worker. They were labelled as trouble makers and shut down soon after.
    Want to hear some more? Wait until tomorrow.

  2. It does cause stress for children to be removed from their parents. There is a lack of acknowledgement at the time we live in about the importance to a child to feel a part of their own family and to have a sense of their place in the world.
    My baby went to wonderful foster parents, yet it still caused her a lot of stress. When I got her back she would not even stay in her stroller anymore when we went for walks. I had to carry her, she would cry if anyone said hi to her, thinking they would take her away again.

  3. Jenny, I am so sorry for the trauma that this interruption in your parenting has caused your baby girl. It's another evidence of the harm that unnecessary apprehension has on children, all in the name of keeping them safe.


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