Saturday, January 8, 2011

Re-think Accountability in child welfare /Part 412 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Among the changes that we might recommend to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, do you think it might be a good idea to ask for a re-think of the accountability required within the system. I am thinking particularly of an accountability formula that involves people other than those within the system itself. Sure we have a Representative of Children and Youth and her office has a specific mandate to be independent of MCFD and to serve as a watchdog. How well is that working? I'm not convinced it's entirely effective or let's say as effective as the Hughes recommendation envisioned it could be. The government has not embraced this objective independent voice and the MCFD has obstructed it. So, I am thinking of an external mechanism, a citizens' board to strengthen accountability in the child welfare system. The fear that might be expressed within MCFD might be that such oversight would discourage skilled workers from either entering or staying in the field. I view that as a dubious concern since the attrition of skilled workers is already a headache and that erosion is attributable to the failure of team leaders, supervisors and directors to be properly accountable for their calls, decisions and expectations. Of course we need to support skilled casework practice and the way that can be done most effectively is by creating less need or opportunity for criticism of the work by a healthy accountability mechanism. An accountability to us, the people, the citizens, the parents, teachers and children who own this community service with our tax dollars and our citizens' rights.
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 comment:

  1. I still find it difficult to believe how the Baynes SBS diagnosis can stand on its own without cooberating investigation of their lifestyle and observation by independant third parties that supports any "abuse" diagnosis.

    Finn himself was clear to say that only 2 of the 3 criteria for an SBS diagnosis was fulfilled in the Baynes case. 33.3% of the criteria, brain damage, was not present.

    A foster parent blogged that Bethany had cerebral palsy. Why would Finn and MCFD suppress this evidence? I see photos of Bethany running and playing. All three children are well bonded to mom and dad. Bethany is not blind, not leg-braced, and not speach impaired.

    I would like to see both doctors and MCFD should sued until all participants are crying purple.

    The Baynes were not convicted of anything. Just the opposite. They were VINDICATED by the RCMP, despite the Hoffman's "help" to try and sway these police to press charges. The police apologized, so should each MCFD participant.

    It is my thought that in May of 2008, MCFD was well on the way to distancing itself from their embarrassing SBS diagnosis, which is why they "returned" the two boys despite no services and no change of circumstance occurred that would justify this action.

    The unexpected publicity from Global TV clearly flustered MCFD into a knee-jerk removal reaction and put them into a highly defensive and adversarial mode that obligated their superiors to use the full "due process" of the court system.

    I would rather suspect Premier Campbell seeing protests outside his consitituency office did not make him happy. Few of us now have little doubt the highest levels of the Provincial Government are having some influence in the Baynes case.

    Clearly, there is insufficient evidence that indicates abuse, not an accident, from the single instance of Bethany's injury. There is no cooberation in the Baynes lifestyle past or present that supports an abuse finding or a need of protection.

    "No chance at winning in court" were the words of advice written by Finn Jensen, MCFD's own lawyer. Was he not asked for his legal opinion and he gave it?

    It is my believe that MCFD's unspoken fear of lawsuit by the Baynes put MCFD inbetween a rock and a hard place and is driving their actions.

    Finn was given an impossible task to convict the Baynes, and he is only too happy to bill us for this attempt.

    Judge Crabtree has been given the unpleasant task of telling his bosses their heavy investment was and is pointless.

    A judgment that flies in the face of this news of SBS as an valid concept, let alone a believable diagnosis would now appear to be a risky proposition for Judge Crabtree to ignore.

    As I've followed this blog, read the medical information, attended the hearings, read transcripts, I view the collective evidence as overwhelmingly in favour of the Baynes. The behaviour of MCFD has been simply reprehensible and nonsensical.

    Doug Cristie spoke volumes of common sense and took only an hour in his summation, not three days as did Finn Jensen took to close the case.

    Finn and company continue with ther fear mongering, playing on the "reasonable doubt" and "likelihood of harm" card to try to convince the judge and the public the decision should fall in favour of the Ministry.

    Finn alludes the Ministry is better equipped than these "overwhelmed" parents to care for these children, even if they don't have the moral right.

    Remove the overhead of time and stress that emanates from Ministry involvement, and I suspect that the Baynes and their extended family will have more than enough time to properly care for their four children.

    Any compromise by Judge Crabtree to throw MCFD a bone with a supervision order (ie. a "finding of protection") would result in him being labelled as a government lackey. This would be a sad day for B.C. Provincial justice.


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