Friday, January 7, 2011

THE SITUATION & SOLUTION / Part 411 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Here is the situation: Children are needlessly being torn from their parents and kept from those who love them and everything with which they are familiar. I do not accept the opinion that this is an overstatement or an overreaction. The evidence is before us. Concluding that this is a situation worthy of address, perhaps you will indulge me briefly. After reading this post today, drop a comment. Speak to any of it.
To date only individual, case specific demonstrations and protests seem to take place. There is no concerted, widely embraced effort to rally support for the broader issues. Let's examine the question of whether a formalized advocacy movement can suitably address this situation. I propose a formula by which to determine if a collective effort is necessary and feasible.

1. Identify the problem: What is the real cause of the situation? Why do you and others want to try to change things? Could the situation be changed through advocacy work?

2. Gather information: Find out all the information possible about the situation. This may involve making visits, talking with all sides’ involved and carrying out research to find details of:
  • the problem and its implications;
  • possible solutions that could be proposed;
  • targets – these are organizations or people who are responsible for the situation or can influence it, such as local and provincial government or employees;
  • opportunities for influencing the targets such as appointments, public meetings, newsletters, sympathetic individuals or personal contacts;
  • supporters and opponents Who would join you with their support? the media, churches, NGOs? Who might oppose you? Organizations, officials, individuals?
  • risks and advantages What risks are involved if action is taken or not taken? What advantages might there be in taking action, or in not taking action?
3. Make a decision: After gathering information, a decision needs to be made as to whether or not to take action. Can we really help to change the situation? Do we understand all that is involved? Are we clear about who should be targeted to make changes? How can we work together with other supporters and are they interested? Is our information accurate and up to date? Will it stand up to official scrutiny or will people just consider it confused?
We may feel we need more information and research and more help before we can make such a decision.
4. Plan: Once a decision is made, we need to work out a clear plan of action. This should include:
  • the main problem
  • the objectives of our advocacy work – such as a change in the law or challenging bad practice
  • people who have the power to change the situation – the targets
  • the methods and activities that will be appropriate to use for this situation, i.e. how to liaise with other supporting groups
  • time schedule
  • possible risks
  • responsibilities
  • measures of success – how will we measure the results?
It may be helpful to draw up a plan of action using headings such as these:
Methods and activities
Supporters and opponents
Success indicators

5. Take action: The kind of action to be taken can vary:
  • Direct influence - (lobbying) on the target This could include writing letters to officials, meeting with them, providing information and research findings that may be of interest to the target group, inviting officials to visit and learn more about the situation themselves or attending public meetings already arranged by the target group.
  • Campaigning - Campaigning involves telling others about the situation in a way that encourages them to take action. It could include arranging public meetings, silent demonstrations or marches, writing newsletters, providing information sheets.
  • Media work - Using the media to spread the message expands awareness of the situation though less directly than by campaigning. Media work can include writing an article or letter for a newspaper or magazine, producing a press release, talking on the radio, working with journalists to explain the situation.
6. Evaluate: It is important to set time regularly to look back to consider the effectiveness of our actions. What have been the results? In addition to the main objective, has anything else changed? Should anything have been done differently?
It may be very helpful to make a list of things that have been successful and the things that have failed. For example:
After evaluating what has happened, what changes could we make? Is further action still required? If it is beneficial, repeat the cycle and work out a new strategy.

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. Ron,
    I have started the path to hold MCFD accountable for their social workers. On November 23, 2010 I filed in the Supreme Court Registry in Chilliwack a civil action for Misfeasance of Public Office, and for negligence due to the wrongful removal of my children in June of 2010. I have been told by three lawyers my case is a slamdunk. I will not be settling outside of court no matter what they offer me of monetary value. As the purpose for my suit will be to hold accountability by social workers. I have also decided to elect a CIVIL Jury so that they can be tried by their peers. I am looking forward to my case setting precidence in BC. I can provide you the documents if you want them :). I will keep you posted. Hopefully by the time my case is completed the Baynes will get equal justice :). Dianna Holden - Author

  2. Less than two weeks to go before the expected Bayne judgement. I cannot help doing a count down,but I can understand why Zabeth prefers to keep busy and tries not to think about it. Meanwhile the situation looks increasingly optimistic. They baby will most likely not be born before the judgement and this gives the parents more security against further intrusion by the ministry.
    Today I want to carry on with my theme about how the ministry shows no bias or prejudice and treats everyone as badly as possible. I had a lovely foster home. She was a widow and the most caring and loving woman you could meet and she had two sweet teenage daughters who helped with the foster children. One afternoon a man left a toddler in my office. Before he rushed out in tears, I managed to learn that the boy was called Emil and his mother was called Marie. The man was Gerald. That was the day I first met the foster mum and I got to know her very well and what a pearl she was. The story of Emil is a fascinating one, but it is far too long to tell here. Some time after he had left the foster home for a long term situation, the foster mother phoned me in great agitation and I promptly went to see her. She now had a little girl in care, but she was to be removed and her foster home closed. Apparently she had been accused of beating her own children.It took a while for me to track down what had happened. One of the girls had gone to a local community centre to explore the programmes. Somehow a youth worker there knew that her mother took foster children. While talking to the girl, the worker asked if her mother ever spanked them. The girl said that she did. This got duly reported to the foster home division, who immediately notified her that her home would no longer be used.
    My next step was to interview both the girls at home. The girl explained to me that her mother had only ever spanked her once and that was about ten years previously. The youth worker had not given her time to explain. The mother said that when her daughter started to cry, all three of them started to cry and she vowed that she could never spank her child again. I wrote up my interview and sent it to the supervisor of foster services. We knew each other well and he promptly re-instated the home. The worker for the home had a masters degree, but apparently did not know how to conduct a simple interview.
    I have already told you about Mr. D. She took in a teenage girl. The social worker failed to mention that the foster child had a history of abusing younger children and that was why she was in care. Of course she should not have been placed in a home with younger children. The foster child assaulted a little girl in the home and had to be removed. The mother sought therapy and payed $12,000 to a psychologist and she requested the MCF to reimburse her. When her request was refused, she successfully sued for $60,000, which was therapy plus legal costs. The ministry successfully appealed and the foster mother had to sell her house to meet her legal bills. Her lawyer estimated that the Ministry had spent close to a million dollars on the appeal. They are certainly consistent.

  3. Right now almost the entire thing is on the discretion of the individual social workers. The courts are bound by child protection law which is against the parent. I had some crazy social workers and now a good social worker and another good one who was given a very bad time by his supervisor for 'favouring' me. That is why I go tmy kids back, it was hard in court and because my legal aid lawyer was in favour of the MCFD system, she would not help me much. I shopped around extensively for a lawyer willing to fight MCFD in the Vancouver area and I went all the way to MIssion for advice. IT is not as lucrative as family law when a couple is fighting. Not many lawyers in the Lower Mainland will fight MCFD.

  4. Dianna, if you win your case, it will indeed be precedent setting and we know that precedents serve others well in future cases. Keep us informed.

  5. It should be noted that Jury trials in B.C. people need to pay up front. B.C. is the only Province in Canada that charges these high rates for Jury trials.

    The first day of costs is something like $1,500 to $2,000 because of the lengthy selection process and initial preparation. Subsequent days are a few hundred dollars a day for court room rental, plus a stipend for each juror. After 10 days, the costs go up. After 50 days they jump again.
    Jury costs pale in comparison to lawyer's fees. This is imaterial if you are representing yourself.

    I would estimate it is very rare, especially in B.C. to even attempt to file a lawsuit against MCFD for wrongful removal and loss of love and affection, and likely damages due to behavioural diagnosis for the children and parents who have suffered through this experience.

    MCFD would claim they remove children as a 'last resort' and 'as a precaution' while they diligently, and quickly investigate and subsequently return the children.

    That said, win or lose, the actual process of getting on the record MCFD social workers testifying how the justify a removal would be extremely entertaining and enlightening for the public. If a publicity ban could be lifted as in the Baynes case, this could become newsworthy indeed.

    However, I would say it is not the best idea to provide an ounce of information and broadcast it on internet on a blog MCFD is known to be tracking, as it could undermine the case even before it gets off the ground.

  6. Dianna, pay attention to the last comment. Perhaps you want to reconsider having your comment remain on this blog site. Or at least consider not revealing anything further about your intentions, case details, plans for the court case.

  7. I guess I must have been lucky to have MCFD pay my psychologist fees after they balked for so many months. It took a number of judicially written letters sent to the right people, but I finally got MCFD to pay up without having to resort to court.

    MCFD seems to respond better to the mere threat of expensive legal action and publicity. If you just file an action without first trying the laborous process of trying to convince them to settle with you out of court, this can force MCFD into the position of having no choice but to respond in kind.

    If you are poor and MCFD can't take anything from you if you lose, this also functions as a deterrent.

  8. I would estimate that this type of action wheel is fairly common in business and marketing activities. It works fine with cohesive groups that can all get together and actually abide by an agenda. In child protection matters where you are talking about parents that are separated by distance, lack of time and resources, funds and even ideology, a different model is needed.

    A significant (virtual) infrastructure would have to first be created so the action wheel would have a chance to work. This would be sort of like an RCY on a national basis. This would likely be seen as competition (or statement of incompetance) of existing Provincial advocacy offices.

    The contemporary call to public action is a bit more spontaneous and reactionary. Think twitter, facebook, blogs, wikipages. What this means is, if there is a really significant child protectiion atrocity or scandal that is picked up nationally or internationally, then someone, or group takes up the charge and spawns an action to quickly put forward a proposal for a change in law.

    An example would be Samantha's law (!/pages/Samanthas-Law/109590009095318) where a mentally challenged child who was killed in care because she did not get appropriate services and was instead placed in a foster home without recognition of her special needs. This is an example where a single person can make a difference, they take up the charge, and they quickly acquire a strong following to instigate change.

    The photo-mart child removal case in the U.S. ( is an example of a viral event that quickly caught fire with the public. Child protection was universally derided for over-reaction. This sort of thing is short-lived and can quickly cause changes to internal policies of various regional child protection agencies so they don't risk a reoccurence of this type of embarrassment. The business of unjustified removals still goes on though, no laws are changed. The opportunity that is missed is the realization that uncooberated, non-investigated single-event reports are the bread and butter of child removal.

  9. I just hope the judge was organized enough to read the news today, because if he did, he'll see that "shaken baby syndrome" has brought ignominy upon the justice system:

    The Canadian Press

    TORONTO — Both the defence and the Crown are asking Ontario's highest court to acquit a man who pleaded guilty in the death of his infant son 19 years ago.

    Dinesh Kumar was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his five-week-old son Gaurov but pleaded to criminal negligence causing death.

    Dr. Charles Smith, who is described as having a God-like reputation at the time but has since been disgraced, concluded Gaurov died of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    New opinions from various medical experts have found that while Smith's conclusion would have been the prevailing view of the time, it is no longer scientifically valid.



    In other news, another victim of the notorious Charles Smith gets a bit of justice:

    The Canadian Press

    TORONTO — An Ontario man who was wrongly convicted of killing his niece based in part on evidence from disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith will receive $4.25 million in compensation, the Ontario government announced Thursday.


    Mullins-Johnson, who has dropped his lawsuit against Smith and several other doctors, declined to speak with reporters Thursday.

    His lawyer said Mullins-Johnson would probably keep working on social justice issues, speaking about wrongful convictions and helping families whose children are seized by Children's Aid Societies.

    Good for Mr. Mullins-Johnson; victims of Children's Aid society will benefit greatly from his assistance, and no doubt the media will focus more on the atrocities committed by CAS with Mr. Mullins-Johnson speaking out against them.

  10. And good for you Anon Jan 7 11:58 PM for spotting this and passing it one here. I am pursuing this right now Jan 8, as I write. This is profound.

  11. I found YouTube link that explains some of what Dianna went through in the foster system

    The brief removal of her own children is a footnote in comparison.

    It is exceedingly rare to go to a Presentation Hearing and have one's children returned AND in less than two months (44 days is indicated on the movie).

  12. Anon January 9 5:43 PM
    You did well in finding the video. That tells Dianna's story well. Not all of our lives fit a nice predictable storybook pattern. Some people's stories are nightmares, and child welfare services strangely struggles to understand that adults and children caught in nightmare realities are not categorically bad or dangerous or risky or unqualified for responsibility. A paradigm of grace and compassion needs to be introduced into the skills improvement of existing caseworkers and their managers and directors.


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