Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Parenting Capacity Assessment (PCA) / 507

His Honour rejected the SBS theory but in making his ruling he also spurned the natural judgement to return the children to their parents. Many of you have felt that this conclusion defied logic, because he ruled to continue the government care of all three children without supportive evidence. He had just thrown it out.

Okay, so make the best of it. It is ostensibly three more months of care. Zabeth and Paul must show themselves clean, concerned, cooperative, capable and they have three months in which to do that and this is precisely the type of case for which the Ministry requests a Parenting Capacity Assessment (PCA). PCA's are medico-legal reports and most PCA’s do not end up in court, but result in a plan of action agreed upon by both parties yet nevertheless they are prepared with the expectation that they may be examined in a court of law.

Paul and Zabeth Bayne are engaged in a colossal child custody case involving all four of their children. The Case has for the past 3.5 years contested the plans of the Baynes against those of the Ministry of Children. In the process of the contention the family has been rendered apart. It has been far too long. The Baynes' plan has always been and is now to recover what was taken from them in October 2007. Beginning in 2009, and throughout the court case initiated by MCFD to acquire a Continuing Care Order, and continuing until two months ago, the Ministry plan has been to prevent the Baynes from ever having the children returned. Seriously! Then Judge Crabtree squashed the Ministry's foundation – the claim that Zabeth or Paul had shaken a seven week old baby girl. A medical theory that a set of three distinct symptoms predictably and invariably point to abuse is what started this and the Ministry workers became creative scriptwriters to support a storyline that parents of two boys would find reason sufficient to damage so severely a tiny infant to whom they had looked forward with great thankfulness to God.

Customarily as in the Bayne case the PCA is initiated and paid for by MCFD. The psychologist's job, in this case Dr. Conrad Bowden, is to study the parent's full situational circumstances including their relationship with MCFD. He will be expected to increase understanding about the Baynes so that a more constructive working relationship can be developed between social worker and clients that can lead to the return of the children. To do this, special expertise with regard to mental and behavioural issues relative to the parents and the children will be consulted and provided to MCFD and court. It is supremely invasive. None of the results are confidential and the clients are informed of this and agree to it nonetheless. As the Baynes have found, what other choice do castigated parents have but to comply.

So Dr. Bowden has already conferred with the Baynes and introduced his multimethod, multitrait assessment approach. He will obtain data though various means including MCFD files, court files, interviews, psychometric testing, collateral interviews and parent child observation. Some of it will take place in the Bayne home. A number of different traits are assessed including cognitive functioning, personality, psychopathology, drug and alcohol use, parenting skills and cultural competence. Dr. Bowden appears to understand how stressful such PCA testing can be for parents. He believers that he can have his results by July and hopefully it would be sooner because the three month temporary care order runs out on June 2, 2011. Then what?


  1. I wonder if the flawed precedent of law has escaped us - that is that there is no basis for the initial care order, but yet the government is still able to take (and keep) our children. No supportive evidence and yet the government has custody. Have we just not seen the potential implication for the future for all BC families or are we just resigned to it? Maybe we think that someone else will fight it.

    Much as I don't want for the Baynes to have to take this on, I hope the appeal goes through successfully.

    However, it should be stated - even though the MCFD is playing nice now (thanks to assigning a new Social Worker), it has not escaped our collective memory the living hell they have subjected the Baynes to - and how they freely feel to do this while creatively manipulating the law at their own whim.

  2. I believe that Dr. Bowden will find that the Baynes are excellent parents, and very able to deal with stress, and that it is in the best interests of all their children to be returned immediately to the Baynes.

  3. If the government is forcing a PCA on these parents as a condition to being "allowed" to parent, the same standard should be applied to all parents before they are allowed to leave the hospital with their newborns. This does not happen because the public outcry would shut down the Ministry.

    Why aren't all foster parents required to take a Parental Capacity Assessment so this information is on file, to prevent weirdo's who target children or those who are profiteering and don't care about kids?

    Forcing the parents to take an I.Q. test, for goodness sake. Clearly, all PCA's are not created equal. I certainly did not have to take an I.Q. test in my assessment.

    Tests imply a standard exists that if a parent is not smart enough (or as smart as care providers that are taking care of kids who do NOT have to take such tests) they need government provided therapy, or expensive assistance to make up the difference. Or, the parents simply can't be allowed to care for their children.

    A PCA is a overpriced multi-bladed weapon. It can be used as a transitionary recommendation that lists the path by which children should be returned.


    If a PCA gets into the court system, it will be used against parents, never for them. A positive assessment means court would be a waste of time and a judge cannot ignore a recommendation to return.

    It is a money racket. Ministry paid pychologists pay half the normal rate, $125/hr versus the $250/hr rate for those same PhD practitioners who bill the private sector. To get around this, psychologists simply double up their hours, and no one is the wiser. It is a money racket to ensure the maximum flow of taxpayer dollars, and social workers rubber-stamp their approvals on those who are designated cheerleaders.

    I've read enough of Bowden's quoted comments in court rulings to decide that if he decides to follow judge Hicks example in villifying Ray Ferris' position and the parents are seen as agreeing with this and not changing their stance, a similar pull quote from such an expert will see the Baynes children retained by a CCO because the parents will be seen as always remaining a risk.

    Any parent can easily be portrayed as pretending to reform, and are just going through the motions in completing various courses and services. MCFD has the luxury of deciding either way and ordering their pet psychologist to rule accordingly.

    This is the risk of using a Ministry-provided psychologist that does not do parent-requested parent capacity assessments that would be used against the Ministry.

  4. My blog of yesterday seems to have got lost in cyberspace, or did you delete it? Anyway, I responded to your loss of trust theme by saying that the Bayne case was a model of how to lose trust. For three years the director submitted the Baynes to trial by ordeal and then found it hard to understand why the Baynes found it stressful to have any contact with him. He seemed to be very hurt when people said unkind things about him-so hurt that he snatched the kids from safe relative care. Only a man of his exceptional talent could contrive to be totally thick-skinned and very thin-skinned at the same time.
    You did not mention yesterday's ruling when Judge Hicks found Josiah to be in need of protection and made an order under section 35 ordering interim custody to the director. He did this on the basis of keeping in step with Judge Crabtree. Surprise, surprise. It was foolish of an old man to harbour illusions, but I did have a faint hope that compassion might factor in and Crabtree would agree to him returning the suckling babe to his mother's breast. Dream on.
    I believe a date to set a hearing is on April 21.
    I note that the judge confirms that this is an order from a presentation hearing and of course, I still have a faint hope that the law will be followed and that hearing will be within 45 days. I also believe all children will now be under the same judge, but I do not know which one. Note that "presentation hearings are summary and must be concluded as quickly as possible." Well this one lasted two months to the day. I suppose that by the usual standards in this case, we could consider that rushing headlong with things. Section 4 also says that timeliness and continuity of care are paramount considerations of best interests. Of course everything is open to interpretations, so these two become whatever the judge says it is. We use the term "poetic licence" when things are stretched beyond belief. We could coin a new phrase for this. "Judicial licence."
    As with Crabtree, Judge Hicks cherry-picked the evidence to support what he wanted to do. Among other things he quoted a bit from a letter I wrote to the director. Well you can read it on an earlier blog. I explained why I advised the Baynes should give him a wide birth during her pregnancy with Josiah, because it was dangerously stressful and threatened premature delivery. I note the judge quoted bits without giving my reasons, which were very factual.
    Tomorrow I want to write about attachment deficit syndrome and how it applies to the Bayne children.

  5. I have triple checked Ray and no comment appeared in my inbox from you connected to yesterday's posting. Can you resend?

  6. I have had two respondents each requesting confidentiality presently, who make comments that they have requested to be shared with the Baynes to provide background and info concerning Dr. Bowden, which they have gained from their own experiences with him as he did PAC with them. Not supra critical but not altogether positive I may say.

  7. Years ago, Dr. Conrad Bowden foisted on me as the "only" choice that was given to me for a PCA.

    I researched the court judgment databases, I talked to him, and I didn't trust him at all. He smiled too much when it was clear to me there was no purpose for doing so. His body language did not match his speech either. It was my impression he was practiced at making people comfortable, but was not consistently sincere sounding.

    I was able to get a different psychologist I was comfortable with and who had far better credentials AND who did not derive the bulk of his income from MCFD. Suffice it to say my children were returned based on the strength of the PCA report and MCFD withdrew without a supervision order - I refused to sign one, and MCFD refused to go through with a protection hearing.

  8. This might be beating a dead horse, but NEVER trust MCFD or anyone connected with them. This includes psychologists and other service providers.

    It is extraordinary the lengths to which some of these people will try to GAIN your trust, then you find your words used against you.

  9. In my search, Judge M. B. Hicks has only one hit on a CFCSA hearing, in 2007 sending two teens of crackhead parents to a CCO. He has several judgments for criminal cases.


    I found Hicks ruling omitted a lot of what went on in the courtroom I watched. I would have to agree with Mr. Ferris' cherry picking comment in how the ruling was constructed. It is very rare to see a written ruling.

    Christie made a great argument for a supervision order. The ruling did not mention the fact the court admitted as evidence a CD full of 60 images of the family home to show suitability.

    There were a number of supporters that stood up when the question was posed who would help the Baynes and that was not mentioned. The grandparents are still viable care providers, they were not mentioned.

    The judge quoted the standard reasons for granting MCFD an interim care order by quoting an excerpt from a 1999 ruling by Judge Tweedale BCJ 822, which reads:

    [10] The presentation hearing is designed to consider the facts upon which the apprehension is made. If there is a dispute about the facts, then they are resolved in favour of the Director. If there is a dispute about the conclusion to be drawn from facts that aren't in dispute, then that may very well result in the child being returned to the parent. Re A.J. [1996] B.C.J. No. 2786 para. 2 (B.C,P.C.)

    [11] The jurisdiction of the Provincial Court, as at the initial hearing does not involve a decision whether the child is in need of protection. The question before the court relates to whether the Director should retain custody until the protection hearing or should the child be returned to her parents. Re Engel (December 18, 1981, Vancouver Registry No. A 812240 BCSC) applied in British Columbia v. S.A. [1998] B.C.J, No. 952 at para. 10 (BCSC)

    [12] The real question is what is the best way to care for the child until there can be a ~full and complete examination at the protection hearing, Re Engel applied in British Columbia v. B.A. above, para. 11.

    [13] If the evidence suggests a risk of harm to the child, the test is much lower than a balance of probabilities. Put positively, where any appreciable risk of harm is established, the court must make an order under s.35(2) and (3) that effectively address that risk. The Provincial Court must however exercise its discretion on the evidence before it, not simply on the manner in which the risk is characterized. British Columbia v. S.A., above, at para. 12 and 13.

    If course, there was not harm to the child or immediate danger, but that appears to be beside the point. I would support the Baynes in an Appeal all the way to the federal court.


    In a failed search for the referenced Tweedale judgment, I came across another interesting judgment where the Director successfully appealed a Provincial Judge who returned children to parents that MCFD aprehended.




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