Thursday, March 10, 2011

THE JUDGE INTENDS RETURNING THE CHILDREN / Part 471 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

I continue to be grateful for the readership response to this GPS blog. It is kind of you to stay informed here. Many of you are media personnel, social workers, Ministry employees. It is imperative that the seriousness of the breach of justice be understood, acknowledged and addressed in a virtuous manner.

Paul and Zabeth Bayne received from Judge Thomas Crabtree an 'opportunity' as he termed it. Ostensibly it was a nudge to the Ministry and to the Baynes to do something that has not worked for 3.5 years – that is, work together to bring the children home to the Baynes.

You see, cooperation until now, as defined by the Ministry social workers and Director was admission of responsibility for Bethany's injuries dating to September 2007. Not merely responsibility but admission of guilt of willful harm inflicted upon their child, a non accidental injury. Without that admission, the Ministry for three years has not been forthcoming with services or consideration of a return.

That definition is not what Judge Crabtree means by cooperation. He made it clear that he did not accept the Ministry's assertion that the baby's injuries were the result of shaken baby syndrome. The Baynes are not required to admit to anything in order to have the good faith cooperation of the Ministry working with them to affect a return of the children. The Baynes are required to do those things that satisfy the Ministry that they are in fact good and fit parents. What was Judge Crabtree thinking? How are they going to do that? So, the Baynes have written a letter to the Ministry requesting a suggested list of expectations. To date, they have not received a reply. I will let you know when that comes. Nevertheless, Paul and Zabeth have already registered for several courses to establish and to improve their parenting credentials.

To some degree the cooperative relationship toward which Judge Crabtree's ruling directed both parties will now depend upon a new social worker/case worker because the file has been transferred from Hope to Surrey. A meeting between the social worker and the Baynes has happened or will happen soon and this will be very important for both the Baynes and for the Ministry. The Ministry is also under scrutiny now because it did not win this case. I hope you realize that. Some of us may have incorrectly read the ruling as suggesting that Crabtree granted the applied for Continuing Care Order, when in actuality he granted only a Temporary Care Order. It didn't win a CCO. The TCO means that the Ministry is required by law to work with parents with a view to returning the children to the natural family environment. The Baynes have been doing everything they can for 3.5 years. As for taking responsibility, yes! Don't you think Paul and Zabeth have ached over the injuries sustained by their infant daughter on their proverbial watch. Yes, it happened while she was in their care and while their two small boys were playing close by, a preventable accident was not foreseen and she was seriously injured. That's their story and it is that with which they live. Yet instead of being able to love and to care for that child and their other children, they have had to suffer the loss of those years of nurturing.

A group celebration of 'cooperation'
Paul and Zabeth have never missed a visit opportunity with their children. They requested more time with their children. They rearranged their lives and changed their employment so that day times could be free for visits and for the until now futile meetings with the Ministry. The reason the Baynes are able to visit together as a family now is because they received a court order from Judge Crabtree. He specified the number of hours per week and the days upon which these children are to be permitted to spend time with their children. He even gave the Baynes six hours with their children in their own family home, albeit with a supervisor. But that doesn't mean the Ministry cannot still intimidate or torment the Baynes. What other interpretation can there be for a restriction that when in the Bayne home, both parents and all four children must be in the same room all of the time (that is, a parent may not go with a child to another room to read or cuddle or do a craft); or, the renewed ban on the parents taking photographs of their own children. It's true. That was recently communicated to them. Sure, pictures have appeared on Facebook and on this blog, celebrating the children and special days and happy times during the visits. Nothing wrong with that it seems to me. But the Baynes will comply. Why? Because they know from previous experience that any disconfirming word or behaviour will find its way to the file.

I have to say, some of you may still be suspicious of Paul and/or Zabeth, but at some point one has to say that enough punishment has been imposed now.
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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. All parents should always have recording devices operating any time the Ministry is involved, or even suspected of being involved. It is 100% legal to record in BC, Canada. You only need the consent of ONE party, and that party is, of course, the parent(s).

    The ONLY way that many parents have managed to get MCFD / CPS off their back is by recording, and by letting MCFD /CPS know they have recorded. So much of what MCFD does depends on lies or mischaracterizations. Having a recording is often all that is needed to show that they have committed perjury. As arrogant and stupid as many of them are, they don't usually want incontrovertible proof that they are bald-faced liars.

  3. Here is a good article from (an excellent website, devoted to making Children's Aid Society accountable):

    "....Keep accurate records. Later you can reconstruct exact chronologies to rebut CAS claims. We also suggest using a voice or video recorder for all contacts with CAS workers. They are unlikely to get into evidence, but writing down outrageous statements verbatim will help your case. This is most important at the earliest stages when, unfortunately, most parents are still naive. Some opponents suggest pausing after every CAS statement to write it down verbatim. Attila Vinczer reports on video (mp4) that recording all his conversations saved him from jail time and an exorbitant legal bill.
    An interesting idea is to ask CAS for the resumes of the social workers assigned to your case. Do so by a courteous letter directed to the agency. They are unlikely to comply, but you can then use their refusal to complain to your MPP. In this, you will appear as the reasonable party, CAS will seem intransigent.

    ....When stuck with a court order from a judge, or a consent, follow the order scrupulously. At the next court hearing, tell the court that you followed every order, or the reason why that was impossible. Also point out the ways CAS did not comply with the order. Don't rely on your lawyer to do this work for you - prepare the story yourself in a form suitable for inclusion in an affidavit. There is an exception to the advice to comply. A boy in Virginia ran away from foster care and phoned his mother for help. She complied with a court order and refused to meet him, instead asking the foster home to get her boy. He has not been seen since. So calls from runaway children should be answered in defiance of the courts.


  4. Renewing a ban on photos at this stage does not sound good. I wonder if this has anything to do with the car accident involving Josiah? The news of this accident was mentioned in the roadkill radio interview the other day.

    MCFD loves to create restrictions hoping parents will break them, then this violation is used as a basis for escalation. I got a court order allowing photos and the right to watch my children at their soccer games and practices. This really made MCFD angry, and they responded by creating an endless number of other restrictions afterwards.

    Foster parents and social workers can start a psychological war, doing annoying things like claiming a child is sick and visits must be missed. Planning a doctor appointment at a visit time. Feeding the children candy. Plunking them down in front of TV or video games and turning them into mindless vegetables.

    The Baynes are supposed to be allowed to attend school functions, has this happened? School handouts, do the parents get to see these and track their progress in school?

    The foster parents can give the children haircuts, bad ones, if they choose.

    The Ministry can cite privacy considerations of the children, that they are being harmed by public identification by having these images put up on the internet.

    The real reason for photo restriction is more likely MCFD sees photos and videos as evidence gathering by parents that can be used against them in court. Bruises, crying etc. Evidence of strong bonds that a psychologist could see, MCFD would want any such evidence to be hidden.

    In court the primary concern from MCFD with the Baynes taking photos was that service providers photos not be included. They were allowed still photos if they obeyed this restriction.

    Judges generally do not have much say in the day-to-day parenting decisions of MCFD, but have been known to make orders on matters important to parents. Since this is no longer a CCO case, a judge should not object to any application items that aid in reunification.

    I was forbidden to take videos, but was allowed to take still shots. I did the hidden video-cam for a while. This only has potential use after proceedings are over, if you intend to sue them. It is also good for accumulating memories.

    The supervisor never wrote notes during visits, instead she was on her cell phone most of the time writing text messages to friends, not paying attention to the visits. Reports were very short.

    There is a strong psychological warfare component MCFD uses against parents. Restricting photos is one. Imagine having no photos of your children growing up for six months, or longer.

    If a supervisor writes something that is clearly a lie in supervision reports and there is audio or video proof of the opposite, the parents "may" have ONLY ONE shot at submitting the evidence before a judge (who might not care). After this, their visitation privileges can be cut, moved out of the house back to facility visits, or not all children can be present during many visits.

    I have many shots of the supervisor on her cell phone messaging almost constantly, not writing notes, not paying attention. This means critical events can be missed. More likely positive interactions will be omitted from reports.

  5. Ron, the Baynes are blessed to have someone like you on their side. My heart breaks for this family. As a mother I cannot imagine the pain. If my children were still small, I would be afraid to take them to the Dr.

    What about the accident the above poster mentioned? I did not hear anything about it. I trust all is well.

    God bless you as you continue to serve this family.

  6. I wonder if the photo ban is likely so that the parents won't have current photos of their kids to possibly give to people that they might be able to hire to rescue the kids? If they don't know what they look like it makes it harder for them to be snatched from the foster home and returned to their rightful family. It just makes me wonder.

  7. Readers; before I continue with parental capacity assessment, I want to respond to one or two recent issues. First the new stringent rules and specifically no more photos. I think the answer to that one is quite obvious. A picture tells a thousand words. You put up all those pictures of the happy family on access visits and those beautiful pictures of Zabeth holding and caressing her new babe. Then the horror story of him being snatched from her breast by the same man that snatched the other children from the grandparents. The many thousands of readers that looked at them must have been horrified. I know that there has been a mailstorm to officials and politicians. They have told Bruce to stop it. No more heartrending photos. Guess what? It never occurred to them that by now you and the Baynes have a nice library of pictures and they can be rerun as much as you like and they will not look dated for weeks. Duh! Now why didn't Bruce think of that?
    Continuing parental capacit assessment
    Now you can see why shaken baby is such a dangerous hypothesis. In Ontario and many of the united states, it put a lot of innocent people in gaol and they are now being released and compensated. In child protection it is an automatic accusation of deliberate injury and an exemplary profile will not save you. The obvious inference is that if the profile contradicts the likelihood of deliberate injury, then one should ask if the doctor could be mistaken and get another opinion. One should not simply re-invent the profile, as in a recent case. People with good life management skills and apparently good social profiles can be a cause of concern for future care of children if they are becoming problem drinkers, or if they are developing a diagnosable mental illness. Marital disputes can become problematic and so on. However, not all addictions cause behaviours which put children at risk and so on.
    So there you have it, a parental capacity assessment is a systematic record of the functional abilites of the parents. It can be done on a very factual basis. Continued

  8. Parental capacity assessment continued
    Who is qualified to do a parental capacity assessment? The assessment is to gather and record a specific body of information and make an informed opinion on it. Who is able to do that? Basically anyone with the background and interpersonal skills to follow the guidelines. Anyone with a degree in one of the social sciences should be able to take the training in doing such assessments. It takes time to develop those interview skills and the experience to assess the material. One needs to be able to read people. For instance you have received a positive written reference and you choose to interview that person. In the interview she seems to hesitate about certain things and shows some discomfort. There is something she is not telling you and your interview skills draw out the fact that mother has an explosive temper that gets out of control.
    With some exceptions one must bear in mind that education is not training, but it does provide a sound platform for certain types of training. An MSW does not qualify one to do child protection, neither does an MA in counselling psychology. Psychologists own the expertise in doing psychometric and certain related testing. No one else can do it. One must have a doctoral degree for licensing and those with an MA often become registered clinical counsellors, but one can have other degrees to join. This is not a legally protected title like licenced psychologist or registered social worker.
    Family court counsellors often have bachelor, or masters degrees and they are called upon to do custody and access reports. They are given guidelines to follow. The college of psychologists also has very similar guidelines for psychologists, so obviously one does not need a doctoral degree to do the same work. However, one does need extra training and mentoring to do them. I was once involved in helping a man in a custody dispute. Both a family court counsellor and a psychologist had done custody and access reports, so I obtained both sets of guidelines and studied them Neither had come remotely close to following them. The only difference was that one cost a pile of money. Similarly with guidelines for parental capacity assessment, psychologists and social workers need addititional training. However, I would say that the skills needed are much closer to social work skills than general counselling skills. For instance psychologists do not generally make home visits and so on. In British columbia there are no special guidelines for psychologists, but I would not hesitate to use one if psychometric testing were needed, should I suspect intellectual deficit. In the same way I would use a psychiatrist if I suspected a diagnosable mental illness.
    There were three things that got me interested in the Bayne case. I read about them on the CBC blog and contacted them. The first was that the director pursued the case against advice of counsel and I had already had a very bad experience with the same man. Secondly, it seemed to me that all the legal time guidelines had been bent out of shape and the act was not being followed. Thirdly, it only took about an hour on the phone to convince me that the parental profile completely contradicted a likelihood of abuse. You see one of the advantages of having done hundreds of cases is that you can work very fast and focus on the essentials very quickly. I guess it was a skill I learned early with caseloads of 250 cases.

  9. Anon March 10, 2011 10:55 AM
    You intention may be serious and an attempt to be helpful but it is a bit naive and presumptuous, because Paul and Zabeth are not the kind of people who would be foolish enough to kidnap their own children or contract someone to do this. It is this kind of comment that I seriously consider not publishing.

  10. Ron: I am sorry if I offended you with my comment about hiring someone to return the kids but I seriously do wonder if that is the reason behind the no-photo ban,and I know if MY kids were taken away I wouldn't hesitate to hire someone to return them; I'd do whatever it takes!To me this is a valid last-resort option.

  11. I understand Anon 4:37 PM
    As Ray Ferris recently wrote somewhere among these comments, the reason for the photo has more to do with a top down command to shut it down because there is too much publicity, but this is once again a reaction that will backfire. This does not bode well for an agency that aims at others and keeps shooting itself. Really bad aim.

  12. Isn't it sad that we are now at the point in history where parents who want to be with their children must resort to what we term "kidnapping."

  13. re 7:21 PM comment
    Bernice comments- It's even sadder when we have come to a place where an MCFD agent "kidnaps" children from their own birthday celebrations - complete with Police, lights and the Director of MCFD Bruce McNeil!! Sounds like a criminal sting approach rather than something happening to protect children!
    On the other hand, this could all be quite an hilarious idea for a show!! Shows make money, too, and could be a great fundraising idea.
    Are there any readers who know someone who has the skills to put together a sitcom series about the antics of a SW career in BC?
    Bruno Gerussi did something about life at Gibson's BC and called it Beachcombers. Then there is Brent Butt's Corner Gas sitcom about the life in an obscure Sask town.
    I'm serious. I really like this idea.

  14. In actual truth a parent cannot "kidnap" their own child. It's the child welfare authorities that kidnap kids.

  15. Bernice,

    It is said that the basis of all comedy is tragedy, and I can't think of anything more tragic that what MCFD does to children and families.

  16. MCFD likes to convey "messages" to parents to show them who is in charge. Kind of like the legal equivalent of what happens in the Godfather movies where an enforcer whacks the kneecaps of their loanshark victim or leaves a family pet dead in the bed of a targeted individual.

    Delivering these special "messages" is something MCFD knows is very personal and will hurt parents psychologically. Anything to make the parents angry, and hopefully unhinge them so they lose it. This is what MCFD hopes for so they can point to the parent's anger and show it to the judge in order to add weight to a ruling. Parents angry over photos become are easy for a judge to imagine being angry at their children.

    Unnecessary supervision is but one example of the biggest aggravation. Removal of photo privileges is but another example.

    Unannounced visits, banging on the doors and windows for a half an hour is another special form of personal invasion. Not showing up to meetings. Scheduling meetings at deliberately inconvenient times.

    Photos are evidence against the Ministry, of this there is no question. MCFD does not like hard evidence that shows them in a bad light.

    MCFD only allowed photos before the trial because they did not want the parents to bring up issues that would male MCFD look like ogres and that they were conducting a personal vendetta against the family.

    Now, the gloves are off. The trial is over. The little short hearings that will characterize subsequent appearances leaves no time for parents to air grievances. Affidavits can record this information, but judges do not read affidavits.

    The Baynes should expect every trick in the book from MCFD just in case they see another shot at a CCO, but more likely the primary objective will be an never-ending sequence of extensions to "finish" counseling programs and therapy.

    If you will recall, the entire past year Crabtree was overseeing the trial, the blog reflected hope and positive goodwill towards this individual who held the power that would see the return of the children. That, he had made up his mind in the Baynes favour, but was being exceptionally careful not to give MCFD, the bad guys, any excuse to appeal.

    There were the odd pessimistic commenters, who were appropriately shut down. Stop being so negative; the judge might read the comments and change his mind about returning the children.

    Social workers are much the same. The smile, for the most part, they work with you, they talk with you respectfully, in a calm tone of voice. They give hope, they WANT to return your children. They speak of "concerns" and "services" and of "mediation", unplanned delays that are the fault of the courts, not them, endless adjournments, constrained services.

    They describe their heavy workload with other families. Meanwhile, the months and years melt away.

    To say this or that judge is simply 'sleeping' with the Ministry is simply too kind. You would understand if you have had occasion to be in a busy office of a case scheduling clerk and listen to opposing sides converse with one another, joking, planning lunches, perhaps scheduling other clients trials.

    Some judges wait until MCFD social workers say it is ok to return children. We don't know really, how often this happens.

    The judges that do return children at presentation hearings, or downgrade a removal to a supervision, those to refuse to renew continued retentions, few of us will every hear of such cases.

    Hearings may be open to the public, but if the transcripts are not made publicly available, they might as well be closed hearings.

    Perhaps a movement should be begin that sees mandatory publication of all Provincial proceedings, hiding the names of the parents and children, and publicizing the participating social workers, lawyers and judges.

    Judges need to start being held accountable. Start gathering statistics as copious and as informative as sports figures.

  17. Anon at March 12, 2011 12:05 AM -

    You are so right, we really do need to start making these judges accountable. They have had too much respect, for too long. They are the ones who are making decisions that destroy families. And children.

  18. Here is the link to the Provincial Court judgment database where you can obtain judgments for the last 7 days or longer.

    If you put in search terms that are likely to bring up Ministry cases, you will see how quickly and easily the judges ruin families. Search terms to use might be "Ministry" and "child" and "Director." Keep in mind when you read these cases that MCFD and their social workers can say whatever they want about parents and rarely is it questioned.


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