Sunday, January 16, 2011

WHAT DOES AN IMPROVED OUTCOME LOOK LIKE? / Part 421 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

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Yesterday I wrote two posts and in the first entry I said that we need a model of casework that ensures consistent practices which support improved outcomes for children, youth and families. I am going to give MCFD an example of what a good outcome looks like. I will use the Paul and Zabeth Bayne and their three children as an example because even this difficult case could have been addressed with an improved outcome provision.

There is no question that this has been a complicated case. It is complicated by the nature of their youngest child's injuries, by the initial medical diagnosis of those injuries using a term that immediately insinuates parental liability, by the controversy in the medical sciences arena about the legitimacy of the shaken baby syndrome diagnosis, by the early and continued denial by the parents of any harm done by them to their child, by the early RCMP arrest and charges against the parents prior to an investigation and then the subsequent release and dropping of charges for lack of evidence, by the immediate apprehension of the two older syblings, by the failure of MCFD to follow prescribed time-line guidelines within its own authorizing ACT, by the MCFD refusal to accept the Bayne explanation of accidental injury, by the MCFD refusal to give credence or even read the hundreds of letters of support for the Baynes, by the unjustified retention of the two boys without cause and against their own counsel's advice, by the adversarial treatment MCFD administered to the Baynes at every level including intensely rigid instruction about visitation, by the financial losses of the family in properties to pay legal fees, by the unduly long three years that MCFD has withheld the children from their parents, by the publicity that has been garnered by public protests, by online blogs and news media venues suggesting MCFD blundering, and by the lengthy court case in which the bulk of the time was spent by MCFD counsel. That is complicated!

If an improved outcome had been the focus of MCFD for the Bayne family, the Director and his team would have considered that in spite of a suspicious injury and a medical opinion, there was no verifiable specific evidence. It would have understood the significance of the RCMP dropping of charges. It would have viewed the medical diagnosis as an opinion rather than a verdict. It would have dug deeply enough to recognize even three years ago the controversy revolving around the SBS diagnosis. It may still not have believed the Baynes' story of accidental injury or believe that either one of them was innocent of wrongdoing. However, MCFD would have acknowledged that it did not have proof against the Baynes. It merely had suspicion of them and MCFD would have understood the significant difference between evidence and suspicion. MCFD would have viewed this now as an opportunity – an opportunity to help this family. It would have recognized that the best interests of the children was unquestionably to be with their parents and it would have considered how that can best be effected. It would have provided to the Baynes a compassionate plan whereby the parents were not made to feel like criminals always under suspicion but rather as clients being helped by a caring social agency, whereby the well-being of the children in the family home could be monitored each week for a specified time period, whereby the parents could have attended any agreed upon course for parents of small children to improve understanding, coping skills and patience and whereby the concerns of MCFD could be met and the dignity of two respected people could be retained.

Please send this to news media people you know with a courteous two sentence intro inviting them to read this link. Example: "Please read today's GPS blog post. The Bayne Family will hear Judge Crabtree's ruling by January 19th. Thank you. The Link is: GPS"

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 by January 19th. Three days. Stay posted.


  1. I have been slightly sceptical regarding the value of having social workers registered. However, a recent paper by a representative of Canada Court Watch is most enlightening in this regard, and could be equally applicable here in BC:

  2. What a helpful document you have referred to us. This is a January 15, 2011 paper with a lot of interesting reading.

  3. Revisiting the Peace Corps analogy from yesterday, whistle blowers will be targeted if they rock the boat. Mere inconvenience like this blog and other online sites will be ignored for now. But when they become a real threat to the vital interests of those who are in power, people conveniently die. Deceased Senator Nancy Schaefer's unexpected death that Mr. Fisher mentioned is a good example. Murder suicide conveniently happened after there is an allegation that she possessed sensitive information that could collapse the "child protection" industry. Check out:

    and google Nancy Schaefer. There is plenty of info on her.

    Money can motivate man to do a lot of evil things and we are talking about a huge amount of money in this industry. Please download the Public Accounts 2009/10 (ending March 31, 2010) from:

    Search the key word "children" and see how many companies (many are number companies) are receiving monies from MCFD.

    Another interesting observation is the amount paid to:

    1. Kennedy Jensen (page 352) $253,880
    2. Somers & Co. (page 366) $854,553

    The latter is a law firm representing MCFD for New West and Coquitlam. Its owner Gary Somer QC does a lot of appeal works for MCFD in many regions.

    Check the Public Accounts 2010/11 on Kennedy Jensen later on this year. I bet you that there will be a substantial increase due to the Bayne's case.

    The only way to protect families from such abuse of power is to kill CFCSA, revoke child removal authority and outlaw state-sponsored child removal. If you are not in favor of the foregoing, don't complain when you have loved one fall prey because atrocities like the Bayne's are an inevitable outcome of state-sponsored child removal.

  4. Hello Anon 10:46 PM January 16th

    I don't agree with your solution but I welcome your viewpoint. I believe you have expressed your position here before. What you have done today is to provide us with some interesting information access links. I am appreciative of the courageous work of Nancy Schaeffer. I don't understand her story details well enough to buy the conspiracy/murder premise. I may explore that but it is almost impossible to locate unbiased reporting on that now. Your public account data is quite interesting but is no surprise as they pertain to current legal expenses and incomes. If you are suggesting that $300,000 or $800,000 is enough to motivate law firms to go rogue and do murder or less malicious acts, that is outrageous. Since you comment on improved outcomes, I feel incline to say that your suggestions are not consistent. Yes, CFCSA could be tossed for advantage and improvement. However, revoking child removal continues to be an untenable recommendation because you and others offer no consideration to truly threatened children in an abusive parental situation.

  5. A parent I sat in on with was told a Richmond lawyer used by the Surrey Aboriginal section, Nancy Kinsman (page 353) lists an $857,114.00 payment. The name is not identified as a lawfirm or a payee of MCFD in this document.

    In contrast, Lester MacDonald (page 355), who lives in Cultus Lake lists a much smaller sum of $156,840. He claims to have handled 85 MCFD cases last year.

    This immense document is devoid of context. One would minimally expect to see what Ministry, department and any subcategory each name and cost would be attributed to.

    Further, I would want a breakdown of the what the lump sums are made up of, how many cases in a year, jurisdiction, disposition and outcome, cost per client/case number, time spend. This is what a further freedom of information request could reveal.

    The obvious question I would have is if a lawyer can be had on staff for $100,000, what would possess the government for paying these individuals ten times that for the same volume of work?

    The total legal expenditure by MCFD paid to external lawyers in the last reported year from a Freedom of Information Request is something less than $10 million dollars. This seems a bit low to me after reading just some of the six-figure numbers for a few accounts.

  6. With the mention of revoking child removal by social workers (or as the CAS non-registered social worker document states "child protection worker"), I think it should be said that police would still have these powers.

    What's wrong with social workers taking the time to acquire a warrant? Why to they NEVER do this?
    Why remove children and why instantly terminate parental authority when no criminal charges are involved?

    Currently, Children are removed and weeks, sometimes months pass before the actual legal documentation that parental authority has been temporarily terminated through the process of the Presentation Hearing (or parent volunteering to a 3-month supervision order).

    This gets us back to the specific case of the Baynes. Lets assume first, the police were the only ones who had removal powers.

    Given the information presented to them, the doctor's opinion coupled with the social worker's presentation of their investigation into the family's history, the Police are placed in a position of not being able to second guess other accredited professionals, and they remove one child based on the information, Bethany. The evidence at that time would not have supported removal of the two boys.

    The the child "safe" the police can now take some time, interview the parents, look at the medical reports, talk with the social workers, talk with the "witnesses" presented by the social workers, talk with the extended family, and they decide a case for charging the Baynes does not exist.

    At this point, the police should also have the authority to return the children and withdraw, which they did. A case for retaining the infant no longer exists. By inheritance, the social workers would not have legal justification to continue act as replacement parents.

    Instead, we see social workers employed by the Province do continue to act as replacement parents, and considerable taxpayer funds flow in order to support this decision. Regardless of the skill of the social workers, where is the level of fiscal accountability that tracks the likliehood this particular path of expenditure is the most efficient?

    I recall hearing the children were removed in late October of 2008, the police conducted the interviews in November. Total elapsed time is perhaps a month.

    You will find few parents who go through this who would then fault the precautionary steps taken. A month is not a long time.

    The after-effect would be that instead of a permanent cloud of suspicion, the effect would be absolution of the parents and underscoring the fact the Baynes are good parents.

    There would now a definitive record of the Baynes as good parents who were falsely/incorrectly accused of abuse. Twice in a row now, once with a boy with broken bones attributed to a medical condition, and again, a head injury coupled with incompetent and delayed medical assessment.

    Future third party claims of abuse by this family would be increasingly regarded with suspicion and demand a greater up-front examination of the source of the complaint before the family was even bothered to be asked to respond.

    By citing specifica cases and seeing how very localized edits to the current law would impact famililes is the sort the clarification that is required to refine the claim that revoking child removal authority is the only solution that will solve the problem of wrongful removals.

    Rather than throwing out the idea of prohibiting social workers to have unilateral removal authority, further examination of the idea and continuing to refine it is more appropriate, in my view.


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