(Quoted in its entirety.)
Paul and Zabeth Bayne and kids Kent, Baden and Bethany in 2009. The Baynes are fighting for custody of their kids after they were seized by social workers in 2007.
Photograph by: Submitted photo, Paul and Zabeth Bayne
A Surrey couple fighting for custody of their four young children is “heartbroken” by a court ruling saying the kids must remain in foster care for another six months.
In a case that gained significant online attention, Paul and Zabeth Bayne sought to have their children returned to them after they were seized by social workers more than three years ago.
On Wednesday, Judge Thomas Crabtree found the children — three-year-old Bethany, five-year-old Baden and six-year-old Kent — in need of continued protection. A fourth child — baby Josiah, born just four weeks ago — also remains in foster care.
“We’re really disappointed,” Zabeth said Thursday.
“We’re really disappointed,” Zabeth said Thursday. “But we feel the judge has laid out an opportunity for us to get our kids back, and we’re prepared to do what’s needed to see that happen.”email@example.com
The Bayne family was split apart by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) after baby Bethany was hospitalized with injuries doctors believed were the result of being shaken — a diagnosis Paul and Zabeth have always claimed was impossible.
In an interview before the verdict, Zabeth told The Province Bethany was a normal baby until an accident in September 2007 when her brother fell on top of her. The baby girl stopped eating and began vomiting, leading the couple to visit a series of doctors.
Bethany was eventually admitted to B.C. Children’s Hospital with fluid buildup in her brain and other injuries. Shortly after, the baby girl and her two older brothers were placed in foster care. Josiah was also taken away after his birth Feb. 10.
The couple’s lengthy and expensive court battle came to an end Wednesday with the judge finding that while “the family is the preferred environment for the care and upbringing of the children,” they remain in need of protection.
Crabtree rejected Zabeth’s explanation for Bethany’s injuries, pointing to inconsistencies and ultimately saying he was “unable to place any weight” on it.
In weighing the evidence of numerous doctors who presented evidence on shaken baby syndrome, the judge said he was not satisfied Bethany’s injuries were caused by shaking, but that they remained unexplained.
In returning the children to foster care for another six months, he said it was “time to move beyond this question . . . The opportunity is now in the hands of the parents.”
News of the judgment was greeted with surprise and dismay by hundreds of online supporters.
A blog run by family friend Ron Unruh received about 12,500 hits on Wednesday evening as followers waited for a judgment. Unruh said his blog [http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com] receives about 3,000 to 4,000 hits each day, with over 200,000 hits in the past year. A Facebook page also has hundreds of followers, many of whom expressed concern about MCFD’s powers to seize children.
Unruh called the ruling “disappointing,” but said it provides a “vestige of hope.”
Despite everything that has happened, Zabeth said she is most concerned about her kids.
“It’s horrifying what they’ve been through,” she said. “They’ve been in four different foster homes [in three years].”
An MCFD spokesperson said that due to privacy concerns, the Ministry could not comment on the case, adding “the Ministry’s goal is always to return a child to his or her family, but only when it is safe to do so.”
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