Wednesday, January 5, 2011

PRIORITY: RETURN THE CHILDREN / Part 409 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

If the Ministry of Children and Family Development devoted as much time locally to develop plans to return children to their parents, as it does to justifying child removals and CCO's, fewer children would become traumatized and embittered, fewer children would be adopted, fewer families would be destroyed, fewer parents would be viewed as arch-rivals.

When the Child and Family Community Services Act was originated, the intention was clearly that the apprehension of a child would be a last resort. Social workers would be expected to ascertain the least disruptive measure by which to guarantee the safety of the children. Removing a child was then and is now understood to be a serious intervention. However, the social workers who do not walk away from their MCFD careers because they cannot tolerate the system that has evolved, are the social workers who are impaired by lack of time due to staffing shortage and case overloads and by the lack of resources caused by government cut backs of funding for services that if available, would facilitate returning children to their parental homes. Overloaded social workers often do not do proper assessment not only of parents but also of the available alternatives to apprehension. When other resources and options are unknown, unavailable or non existent, apprehension becomes not the last resort but one of the first or the only choice. I believe that is what has been happening in B.C. over the past ten years. Child Protection thereby breaches the spirit of the CFCSA and fails to defend the integrity of families or children's best interests.

The parents from whom I hear, have lost or are losing hope that their children will ever be returned to their homes because the Ministry is evasive and ambiguous about its expectations of parents, or resources are unavailable for an extended time or the MCFD changes the expectations midstream. It has appeared to me that reunifying families is not a priority to a director, supervisors, team leaders and therefore not to social workers either. It is far easier to spend time looking for more reasons to justify the continued care of children. This is a dismal alternative and a failure for our province of 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 three weeks. Stay posted.


  1. As a case in point on the lack of focus on "return" or "reunification", take a look at a recent (October 2010) Alberta review response for children in care:

    64% of children in care are aboriginal. 1800 Albertans provided input that lead to the 10 accepted recommendations. The aspects of rejecting recommendations that lead to accountability indicate the review process has gone through a cherry picking process that works for the benefit of the agency rather than the children and families.

    The obvious problem is this was all handled internally, there was no external review.

    So, if there is a mechanism of review that allows 1800 people to give feedback in Alberta I want to know if this has been, or can be done in B.C.

    The simple economics of limited foster care beds makes it clear that there must be large numbers of returns. Perhaps there are large numbers of children ageing out of the system and this is continually being replenished with new removals.

    It is my thought that it would be an idea to focus further on how the Ministry processes families where children are returned.

    My children were removed and returned. Our family has had 4 years of visibility with MCFD. I cannot begin to describe the negative imposing attitude and self-serving nature of the organization and uselessness of the individual people involved.

    The point is people generally do not know how pervasive the problem is, and that children are not protected, they are simply transported into the system temporarily and spat out, and there is no measurement of benefit or even a simple parent/child feedback that would permit anyone to know what changed.

    Continue focusing on why the Ministry has so little interest in reunification and more interesting in keeping children in care for as long as possible, or adopting them out.

  2. I am aware of the Alberta work, but you have provided a very informative link - thanks

  3. U.S. Parody on child protection services.
    The cartoon characters look like Sarah Palin and Larry King.

  4. There are so many aspects to this video which evoke a range of responses from me. The video is clever, creative, effective, comprehensive, maybe exaggerated, nevertheless informative, humorous, and the content is deeply disturbing, worrisome, frightening because I know that the parody is what a parody is – an allusive imitation of another cultural production or practice.

  5. When we were involved with MCFD they came into my son's high school and they tried to pull so many strings against him. MCFD here in B.C. has a very stereotyped attitude against the children in care. They are considered in need, intellectually deficient, needing to shape up, at risk of becoming involved in crime, etc.
    I have seen a lot of parenting that would be written up very badly if it were my file because I have had simple things written up like they are high risk.
    But if the parents are not involved, it doesn't even rate a second glance. The system is that if a parent is involved, they try to build on it as much as possible as it is easier than getting a new family to work with.

  6. Ron; anon 11.54 AM yesterday made some good critical points about my letter yesterday, which I appreciate. My only claim to expertise was to mention that I had been a family court co-ordinator in child protection.
    I have several times written on this that the most important thing in child protection and related issues is the evidence. Don't give me your opinion, your gossip, your allegations, your junk psychology according to Humeny and Hoffman. Give me your hard observable facts. I may write strongly expressed, with passion, even with a tad of emotion, but I never write with out the sweet smell of facts in my nostrils. The strength of my letter was in its facts and its evidence. Do I need to prove that the Baynes children have been in limbo for three years? McNeill knows that, the judge knows that and all of you know it. We all know that they are stuck in the no-mans land of interim custody. All I did was remind him of it. Does anybody deny that Bruce McNeill had an important role in bringing about this situation?
    I state that every time-guideline in the act has been trampled on. No temporary order for more than one year? Cases on young children must be timely? Is there any one of you who thinks that three years before court is timely? I don't know. Maybe Bruce does. The director has spared no expense in pursuing a continuing care order on the Bayne children for the last three years. Can there be any doubt that this is a very adversarial position for him? Do you think for one minute that the judge does not already know it? I made a statement of opinion that a woman with a fragile pregnancy should avoid severe stress. Anybody want to argue the opposite? The mother has identified tha director as one of her greatest sources of stress. Is she not best qualified to judge this? Who but an unqualified clot would deliberately keep doing what he knows to be stressful? Last of all I said that the actions of the director had left the family penniless and in debt with the severe legal bills. You all know that they had to sell their home and would have been defenceless without Doug Christie. Was my statement factual enough? Do I need to prove my expertise to remind Mr.McNeill of what he already knows, but is apparently in denial about? If he submits it to the court, what is it saying to the judge? It is simply reminding him of a whole lot of stuff that he knows about. What is the judge -- a grandfather--likely to say to himself. "That is right. I believe severe stress can precipitate abortions. Why on earth cannot McNeill stay out of her way until I deliver my ruling. I am already deeply disturbe about the time this case is taking, so why does he have to stir it up?"
    I could think of no advantage to the ministry to have the judge read my letter. Maybe he was trying to defend the Baynes? Was he saying "please be kind to the Baynes because it is not their fault. There is this rude man Ray Ferris who is leading them astray." Yes I was blunt, because they seem to have great difficulty in grasping some things. In the end all I was doing was trying to make some constructive suggestions for staff training. Is there anyone among the readers who does not believe that?
    Tomorrow I want to write about the lack of bias and prejude among ministry staff. They have a simple policy to ensure it. They just treat everyone like dirt!! I will write about other wronged foster parents.

  7. I think Bruce McNeill actually unwittingly helped the Baynes by including Ray Ferris's letter in the affidavit. I can't imagine anyone reading that letter and NOT being appalled at the actions of McNeill and MCFD. What does McNeill think the judge is going to do when he read the letter / exhibit - say, oh, that bad Mr. Ferris, he's such a meddler, why can't he just leave the MCFD and McNeill alone and let them terrorize Zabeth into a miscarriage?

    And now we know that the judge knows, so it actually helps the Baynes even moreso, because what judge could side with such a ruthless bunch, especially when the public has been made aware.

    I don't think Ray Ferris's letter was harmful at all. I think it helped immensely.

    And regarding the issue of it being a bad idea to let MCFD know that they were causing Zabeth stress, it doesn't really matter, as they definately already know this. They just don't give a hoot.

  8. To Anon 10:19 PM and other readers,

    What could either Mr. McNeill or Mr. Jensen have been thinking when they decided to use that letter. It is peculiar that Mr. McNeill thought this letter could help his case and it is stupefying that Mr. Jensen affirmed that decision. I agree with you and of course Ray himself who stated that his personal letter to Mr. McNeill, while intended for McNeill's eyes only, couldn't have been better served than it was in this case. In this instance the letter, while written as a complaint, became a revelation of MCFD conduct with regard to one specific woman and her husband and their children about whom Judge Crabtree must deliver a life affecting decision by January 19th.

  9. I read an editorial in The Globe and Mail that suggests that the aboriginal children in care in Alberta should be adopted by white families. It blames over political correctness for keeping these children in limbo of foster care while waiting for Aboriginal placements.
    However, it is likely that an Aboriginal person has MCFD involvement their entire life. I noticed the weight of historic invovlement in taking children. So, these parents who are Aboriginal are already at risk of heving their children apprehended as they are already on file. It takes courage to have a fresh opinion that the children should be returned home to their real families.
    MCFD has a system that is as efficient as a factory production line for the taking away of children. To fight the system is against their whole machine and it takes tremendous effort.

  10. Jenny, I believe that recently I wrote a post that referenced a young BC aboriginal woman and her husband whose baby was taken as soon as it was born, and her other several children were already in care, and she herself had been in foster care and her mother and her grandmother had been in residential schools, that other horrific debacle. From all that could be gathered this woman and her husband are not presently drug users or alcholics. The justification for this kind of action escapes reason and doesn't have to be disclosed to the public.

  11. I have delt with Mcniel personally and I am not surprised at your objections because his office treats everyone like dirt we have to work to gether for a change that is why I posted my group inquiry into child protection BC I wont back down until there is a change the fact that families are treated with such disrepect epecially like the Bayne Family they didn't deserve this the problem is not having enough evidence agianst Mcniel and his conduct or this office I think the only thing that is going to change or that we get any response is a class action suit against the Minsitry For Children and Families but we need to work to gether! Lisa Arlin


I encourage your comments using this filter.
1. Write politely with a sincere statement, valid question, justifiable comment.
2. Engage with the blog post or a previous comment whether you agree or disagree.
3. Avoid hate, profanity, name calling, character attack, slander and threats, particularly when using specific names.
4. Do not advertise