But I will tell you about a little girl in a moment or so who did not need Child Welfare messing with her life.
Laws regarding the protection of children differ slightly in provinces and territories with respect to the age range for ‘protective’ services. The term ‘Child’ refers to youth as well so for NB and Lab, PEI, NS, ON, SK, NWT, Nunavut child refers to persons under 16 years of age; in PQ, MB, AB persons under 18 years; in BC and Yukon for persons under 19 years of age.
Child abuse understandably is a term referring to physical or psychological mistreatment of a child by an adult (biological or adoptive parents, step-parents, guardians, other adults). The applied definition for abuse includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, and exposure to domestic violence. ‘Neglect’ is a reference to such situations in which a caregiver fails, either deliberately or otherwise, to provide adequate clothing, food or shelter to a child. It can also apply to abandonment of a child or an omission of basic care i.e. medical and dental.
VanDyk, (bearing her mother's surname), a nine year old girl, suffering from acute Autism was removed from the school she attends but without notification to Ayn’s mother, who is not the primary caregiver, but nonetheless was deserving of a notice. The primary caregiver is the girl’s father Derek Hoare, who has his ex-wife’s full confidence, support and blessing. It is an arrangement upon which they agreed. And Derek is a stay-at-home father of his three children, two of whom are autistic. From everyone but the Ministry of Children - Abbotsford office, Derek receives commendation as a very effective and devoted father. You would think that he would have received notification. He did not. This was calculated of course. Had he been present Derek undoubtedly would have not have made their nasty task comfortable. (See two other blog GPS posts concerning this story, June 25 and June 28.
Roadkill Radio Talk show, he had not yet received one word from the Ministry to tell him where his child was or how she was doing. Why does a child welfare office operate that way? Among the numerous bureaucratic protocols, why is there not one that dictates regular information updates to the parents. Derek is an intelligent, articulate, informed father who understands autism. He is an expert on the condition, the needs and the care plans that work with his two children. Ayn’s chief difficulties occur in public forums like school where she will often become aggressive. At home she is entirely manageable not by being medicated but through the patient work of her father. There are always incidents with autistic children and customarily with a call to Derek, he can come to resolve the issue. There have been several incidents with both his autistic children that have been referred to child welfare but always agreeably settled.
The Ministry is not justified to intervene with this family with regard to abuse or neglect. However, Ayn disappeared for three hours two weeks ago. She climbed over the tall wall that surrounds the family home and ventured two houses down and found it alluring there, interest-grabbing items, so she stayed. After twenty minutes of searching himself, Derek called for help. A massive search was initiated with significant manpower, helicopter and dogs and the girl was located and returned. She was elated to see her father. Derek might have expected that MCFD would come knocking and they did that days later. Two social workers arrived, initially inquiring of Derek his understanding of what had happened. They were already programmed with a voluntary release of the child document which they expected him to sign. His voice recording of this incident was played for the radio listeners and Derek is noticeably agitated and emotional and under no circumstances going to sign the document. So days later the girl was apprehended while at school. In the procedural handbook, is there not latitude provided to social workers to sit at length with a parent to adequately learn the family dynamics? Can they not come back on several occasions and be fully apprised as to how this family works? It isn’t necessary is it to take the child? She is going to be hysterical. There are medical solutions for that. Precisely what Derek wants to avoid. She is not in a foster home setting because she cannot be handled by strangers. So she is in a hospital, a bleak, clinical, friendless setting. That’s what Derek is concerned about. The Ministry’s arbitrary defence is that the parenting load is too much for him to handle. Reducing the number of children requiring close care is the Ministry’s solution. This girl is calm, content, controlled ONLY at home with her father. Is the Best Interest of the Child at play anywhere in this story yet? And Derek’s other autistic child won’t leave his side now because he fears he will be removed too. There is far too much more to say about this, than to continue it here. If the Ministry wanted to help, then come alongside this father with help. What is so hard to understand?