Monday, January 10, 2011

THE TERRIBLE COST IS BORN BY PARENTS AND CHILDREN/ Part 414 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Frankly I don't know what it costs to fight the MCFD to regain custody of your children once they have been apprehended by the Ministry. I know that it has cost the Baynes very much. They had a home and property. Zabeth had a grand piano. That all became tinder in the inferno of conflict for which the Ministry has unlimited monetary ammo.

A number of you will be able to tell me how much it has cost you. And the horrible truth is that in most cases the apprehension is for temporary care. Yet in order to establish your ability and stability as a parent it will cost you money, which is so frequently that of which the parents have the least.

The entailed costs are customarily legal fees paid to a lawyer who knows the protocol and the legalese to converse in court and advise you about next steps. The truth is that the parents usually cannot afford the battle. (Look at the terms I am forced to use to describe this, “fight' and “battle”. )

Then there are other complications for these parents. The BC provincial shelter allowance policy is flawed because some parents require this to care for their family but when the children are removed even for temporary care, part of these monies is held back. The Ministry of Housing and Social Development (MHSD) cuts it off immediately, or at the end of three months, depending on the discretion of social workers assigned to the case. The dispiriting result is that parents are sometimes unable to retain their present housing and then the home to which they move is substandard and is not fit for children. Well guess what, the the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is charged with helping parents safely receive their children back from temporary care, so when SWs advise the dropping of the shelter allowance, there is a significant contradiction happening here as in so many other areas of MCFD practice.

And then what? Well, the MCFD objective no longer is the return of the children to parents in that case.

Even in the cases where parents of children in care are granted a three month extension of the shelter allowance, that amount of time is inadequate for resolving the issues that MCFD has with the parents. Delays in process within child welfare and the courts are so common that before one knows it, six months, a year, eighteen months have gone by. Only the deprived parents and their children care. If it is a single parent, a mom on income assistance, just think how difficult it is for her to find housing. She cannot have her children back without good housing. It typically takes two to three years to locate adequate housing. It's around 35% of children taken into care that come from families receiving income assistance and get this, the majority are Aboriginal or single mother families.

With regard to MCFD, Family reunification should be this government’s number one priority. The Liberal Party over the past number of years has not prioritized this, has not funded it and therefore MCFD has diminished staff and resources and increased caseloads and a backed up court schedule has guaranteed that children will stay emotionally and psychologically disoriented within a foster care system for much longer than is either necessary or humane. I guarantee that unless some of you put this to Liberal and NDP party candidates they will not even be thinking about child welfare and protection and family unity.
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 no later than January 19th. Stay posted.


  1. Another unexpected cost is employment. There are the many meetings, appointments for psychological evaluation, monitored visitations - of which an employer may accept initially, temporarily and occasionally. In our case, after months of meetings planned well in advance, we got a call at work from the social worker. It seems that she was in a meeting with a Child Psychologist that we were supposed to be in attendance at. She virtually screamed into the speaker phone that we had missed ANOTHER meeting and that there was no excuse as she had the fax transmittal to prove that she had issued an invitation to attend. Aaaahhh - it all became clear. This was for the Child Psychologist's benefit. No meetings had been missed within the past year. And every meeting had received a written acknowledgement of attendance. But it did mean leaving work unexpectedly and for an undetermined amount of time. Your work begins to suffer and you become considered to be unreliable. Not many jobs can endure this strain.

  2. Thanks Anon Jan 9:08 AM
    For social workers taking a look at this blog site and these remarks, does an over the phone outburst by a social worker regarding a missed appointment disturb you too? Can you explain it? Is it peculiar to that social worker's personal life situations or temperament? Are you aware of overbearing treatment of parents by social work colleagues? The training surely does not include taking control of all situations by aggressive intimidating behaviour, does it?

  3. It costs a lot, because a person is fighting with all their resources that they can muster. If they have savings, they are used, jobs are not in rythmn with the scheduled visitations, they are left. The ministry requires onerous appointments that are not in rthymn with keeping a job. They are insensitive to all this and keep saying that if you care about your kids, you will do this.
    Kids are placed for free (MCFD won't pay for it) with kith and kin. THat is a popular program because it gives the appearance of taking the child out of a supposedly bad situation, and does not cost the government anything.
    The test is when the child needs medically necessary dental work that MCFD does not want to pay for, and then they try to give back the child if they are older.
    So it is very contrary, they try to hold onto babies the most, but do not want to fund teenagers.

  4. I wonder how many "wealthy" families have had their children removed,or have been bullied. I mean surely they can afford to fight the MCFD. Or is it just the ones who struggle day to day to make ends meet.(the majority I'm sure) Just a thought I'd put out there.

  5. Whether or not MCFD is targeting poor people who cannot properly defend themselves is a question worth asking. There was a note I believe in one of the Pivot reports that said poor families do not equate to higher incidence of child protection.

    If there are 30,000 calls yearly, a demographic study would indeed be useful. I have often thought that anyone who applies for housing, welfare, and child tax benefits or legal aid, would make it easy for MCFD to then estimate family income. Anyone who goes on welfare results in a notification to MCFD.

    If you apply for any financial subsidies from the government, MCFD can then derive household income. Ministries are not supposed to have access to your tax returns. If your children are removed, family allowance is immediately cut off, so it stands to reason they would know how much was cut off, because this helps offset foster care costs.

    I know of no MCFD data collection efforts regarding household salary. I wonder if MCFD has access to census information. I don't even recall being asked where I worked, I just said I worked at home to prevent the possibility of calls to my workplace.

    I recall the Rahman's case (also an SBS case), they appeared to be very well funded. I would estimate their ordeal was extremely expensive.

    The best way to estimate costs to parents is to get time statistics from courthouses, as they track appearances to the minute with their tape logs. Another way to track costs is to find out payment information to service providers, supervision, parenting course / counselling, and psychologists etc.

    The Love of Money is the root of all evil, so it is said. Track how MCFD spends their time and money, and one should start to get a better idea of where their collective head is at.

    I used to draw data flow and data volume maps for TCP/IP and IVR/Voice networks. What is needed is a similar map for how money flows in various Provinces child protection efforts. One cannot make sweeping statements associated with financial motivations until a good deal of study is done to validate suspicions.


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