In the case of the Baynes, we have had a Director who believes that at the time of the infant daughter's injuries and diagnosis in September 2007, Paul and Zabeth were a risk to their daughter. Moreover, throughout these past three years and still today as evidenced in the most recent affidavit, the Director believes the parents are a risk to this child. They do not deserve ever to have custody of their children again. That's the essence of the Continuing Care application upon which the Judge is deliberating at this moment. So convinced is the Director about the risk that Paul and Zabeth pose to children that he directed the apprehension of the baby girl's two brothers. Those boys aged two and three in autumn 2007 are now five and six years old and have also been in care rather than at home.
Upon what was this risk based? Well no substantiated evidence exists. No evidence pointed to a criminal act by one or both of the parents. The Director moved initially to the apprehension of the couple's children because of their youngest child's injuries. Even the medical diagnosis by a hospital pediatrician was not evidence. The doctor who was part of the child protection unit of the hospital concluded that the injuries were consistent with something called shaken baby syndrome. The diagnosis is not evidence. It is a theory. It assumes that the only explanation for that set of medical findings is willful harm to the child. Because of its name, 'shaken baby,' this theory assumes more than it should. Its description correctly reveals the serious and sometimes life threatening medical condition of the child, but titling the condition this way, passes judgement on caregivers because the name itself imputes liability without verifiable proof. This has got to stop. The diagnosis is even more contestable today because so many medical and bio-mechanical professionals have been doing research and writing opinion papers that offer grounds for other explanations for the injuries that were sustained by the Bayne child. Many of these were presented to the Director first but when the CCO application was made, these facts were presented in court by the Baynes' lawyer. The Director has retained his risk persuasion because he has never accepted the Bayne explanation for their youngest child's injuries. He has never believed that they are innocent as they have insisted without cowering and with so much at stake. In his mind, they were and are and always will be a risk. Redemption is not in this MCFD team's vocabulary. For that reason as Zabeth has come almost to term with her fourth pregnancy, MCFD has made numerous overtures to discuss with the Baynes the care of the yet to be born child. It is to this that Ray Ferris' letter to Mr. McNeill spoke. A personal letter that illustrated the uncaring stress that this conduct placed upon Zabeth whom the entire local MCFD team knows is vulnerable to seriously premature deliveries. It is time that risk assessments are conducted upon MCFD managers and SWs.
What disturbs me is that another Director with different risk rationalities might have already demonstrated willingness to accept the parents' strengths as well as exercised leniency and compassion to them for the sake of the family.
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.