Thursday, June 30, 2011

CHILD WELFARE IN CANADA, IN ABBOTSFORD & THE CURRENT AYN VAN DYK CASE / 558

Child welfare in Canada contains both government and private services which are designed to protect children and to encourage family stability. The primary objective of the services provided is to safeguard children from both abuse and neglect. Services termed ‘child protection services’ investigate allegations of both abuse and neglect. They may also supervise foster care and adoption services. It was not unfair of me to place the protective concentration first, and now to tell you that in addition child welfare offers services that seek to stabilize and develop families. All of Canada’s provinces and territories have child welfare agencies accessible 24 hours daily and networked together these are called the Canadian Child Welfare System.

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.

Now recently Ayn 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.

Ayn has been out of Derek’s home and he has not seen her for fifteen days today. Thirty hours ago as he was being interviewed on the 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?    

28 comments:

  1. Derek can launch a lawsuit and have it joined with the child protection matter and have both matters heard together.

    Additionally, since the child was not neglected or harmed by the parent, there is a basis at the Presentation Hearing to argue that the child be returned at that point. I've seen children returned on on far less justification and the judge would then downgrade a removal to a supervision order - the child stays at home with the parents. The Ministry can then add all the services they wish.

    Failing that, appeal each stage to the B.C. Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeal as is required. Derek can likely claim indigent status to avoid legal costs. It would be unlikely a legal aid lawyer could be funded enough to handle what may need to be done.

    All of the funding Derek obtains would be cut off, a figure of $6,000 according to the Abbotsford news story for his 9-year old child. This would be on top of normal government child benefits.

    A parent told me that with children with special needs, parents get double the monthly allowance, over $900 for two, the same as what a parent would receive if they have four children that do not have special needs.

    As we know from the Baynes case, the foster parents continue to receive considerably more on a monthly basis, estimated between $6,000 to $10,000 monthly. (Perhaps those foster parents reading this can submit the exact figure they are receiving.)

    I rather suspect that high-value removals such as in the case of Derek's child are much sought after commodities for MCFD's nefarious business.
    Warrantless, cowardly removals from school save MCFD the inconvenience of having to get the police involved.

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  2. What needs to happen to social workers making these arbitrary decisions is a public shaming process whereby the names and photos of the social workers are posted, and people get to throw virtual tomatoes, rotten eggs, and other assorted expired food products at the images.

    After all, these social workers have the power to make a choice, to remove, or offer services that makes it easier for parents to care for their children. Removing children is like looting a store as rioters did in the riot. Taking something without permission and destroying property and good will in the process.

    The recent Vancouver Riot is a good example of people who cause problems thinking they are anonymous and will not later be held accountable.

    Co-host of RoadKillRadio.com made a comment that a shoplifter in a small town would become quickly known and shamed. This supplies a deterrent to others who may consider doing the same thing. Another example given was that of a Principal in a school who knows all the names of the children, which contributes to improved running of that school.

    Publish the names of the social workers and start looking into their practices.

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  3. This is probably the worst, most inhumane, thing you can do to a person. This child is in a living hell right now, as are her parents and siblings. The social workers, and every single person involved in this decision to steal a child from a loving, good parent, needs to be exposed.

    This is not a job, it is a despicable assault upon an innocent family and the most innocent, defenceless member of that family, an autistic child.

    The next court hearing is July 12, in Abbotsford, is it not?

    Could we not organize a rally and be in attendance, just as occurred in the Bayne's case?

    Judges and others need to know that the community will not tolerate this abuse of children.

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  4. Does anyone know what Derek Hoare's Facebook page is?

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  5. The link to contact your local MLA (Members of the Legislative Assembly) is:

    http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm

    Write, and make your voices heard.

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  6. Read sections 31,32 and 33 of the child protection statute. Both parents must be notified of the removal and if possible in writing and reasons must be given. A presentation hearing must take place within seven days the parents notified of it and a court report must be made. A copy must be given to the parents. If none of this has been done,then the social workers have made serious procedural errors. No judge should let them get away with that. To do so would be a failure of duty.

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  7. I believe that the 7 da requirement was met but the hearing was merely delayed until July 12.

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  8. You will find Derek Hoare's Facebook page here,
    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002522479204

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  9. There is a distinct and separate appearance before the Presentation Hearing. The sequence of events and MCFD court appearances is:

    1. Removal (no notice or paperwork

    2. First Appearance "hearing" usually lasting five minutes (accusations are delivered on a few pages called Form 1 and Form B) where parents accept or refute interim care plan. Date can be set for Presentation Hearing on this day.

    3. Presentation Hearing - 1 to 6 hours long occurs if parents contest the removal. Plan for morning in event the matter can carry over to the afternoon. Otherwise a second date will be required to continue, often many more months away before the same judge. Social workers explain why they took children. Parents may get to speak. On rare occassions, a judge may downgrade to a Supervision Order. A lopsided 98% of judgements find in favour of MCFD to keep kids in care.

    4. Case Conference - A date is usually set at the Presentation Hearing for a 1-hour mandatory informal hearing arbitrated by any judge and parties. Agreements may result, but this is rare. Count of days required for Protection hearing and date may be set for this.

    5. Protection Hearing - Usually occurs several months after the Case Conference, 6-12 months distant depending on number of days requested and how busy courts are. Hearings usually last 3 to 10 days. One day averages two witnesses.

    A flow chart is seen at:
    http://www.pa-pa.ca/tactics.html

    Two boxes are missing on the flow chart on this page, the First Appearance hearing and the Mandatory Case Conference with the Judge.

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  10. You indicated that the parents were not told the reason for the removal. At the seven day presentation a presentation report must be made and a copy given to both parents. If this was followed then the parents were bound to know the reasons given by the minsitry.
    At the same time I caution that the reasons do not have to make any sense. They can be vague allegations with no basis in fact and they can be total nonsense, but it does not matter. All the judge and the director care about is that process is followed. As long as the report is on the right form and all the necessary boxes are ticked off, they do not care if it is utter nonsense. All the judge wants to do is to get through the morning list with minimum fuss. He has little choice but to take everything on trust. The supervisors and managers care not one jot if the evidence is virtually non-existent. This is not through ill-will, but simply because they have no idea how to recognize evidence. I don't think that Judge Crabtree knew how to distinguish evidence from garbage either. So if the chief judge cannot do this, what does it say about all his brother judges?
    If Derek reads this blog, he should think about boning up on the child family and community services act himself. It is on line if he wants to google it. If he gets a legal aid lawyer, there is not guarantee that he or she will have read the act. There is no guarantee that any of the other people in court have re-read it lately. It is easy to forget particulars and that is why I look up the act every time I do something like write on the blog.
    I have no doubt that the social worker and the bosses will be willing to spend oodles of money supporting the foster parents, but they will find a dozen reasons why they cannot help the father with extra help. Hope this is of help.

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  11. Just a few points of clarification ...
    First, I am the primary, custodial parent of a profoundly autistic, school aged child who receives the full-time support of a 1/1 EA. My son can be violent and aggressive, frequently engages in severe self-injury, and is non-verbal. So, in some ways, I know from whence I speak.

    Parents rarely receive cash-in-hand funding. More often than not, parents sign invoices for pre-approved services which are then billed directly to the Ministry. As a previous poster suggests, school age children with an autism dx are eligible for up too 6k in funding towards a variety of services which again, must be pre-approved.

    My interest in this case was piqued at the comment that Mr.Hoares children have been referred to MCFD several times. When you state referred, were services suggested to them, were protection concerns raised .... Sounds to me like someone at the school has taken a special interest in this family, appointing themselves as an MCFD point man, relaying any bit of (what they see as) pertinent info to TPTB. The MCFD already had a file on this family and jumped at the chance to play hero to a child who (by all accounts) they deemed in need of protection. Many children are in care because some misguided do gooder with a deus-ex-machina complex took the well being of a child upon themselves.

    Lord have mercy ... so does this mean that the Ministry can arbitrarily walk into my sons school and remove him because I might have allowed him to wear the same pair of socks three days in a row and some well meaning EA thought he was being neglected ..

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  12. Anon 1.11 is probably quite correct in stating what is the common practice in courts. That does not mean to say that the practice is following the letter and the spirit of the law. The act is very specific in that a presentation hearing must take place within seven days and it is summary and must be concluded as quickly as possible. The act is also specific that a PROTECTION HEARING must take place within 45 days. This is in keeping with the guidelines which urge timeliness and continuity of care. This is the spirit of the law. We used to take these clauses seriously and get to some sort of hearing within the 45 days.
    The idea is that parents should have the opportunity to test the evidence under due process as quickly as possible. We also have to bear in mind that the act severely restricts the length of time of temporary orders. Nowadays the practices kick all the stuffing out of the act and judges and social workers seem to do as they please. Kids are years in care without testing the evidence and presentation hearings are stretched out for months. Protection hearings within 45 days are a pipe dream. Just look at Baynes. Two and a hslf years before any hearing for evidence. Three years in interim custody. Nearly four months to write a judgement and then making an illegal order. The courts are choaotic. Just because that it is so does not make it right, or legal. Those who are supposed to be the guardians of public welfare and public rights are among the worst offendors. Anon tells it like it is and I tell it like it is supposed to be.

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  13. Anon 1:11 PM you wrote "Sounds to me like someone at the school has taken a special interest in this family, appointing themselves as an MCFD point man, relaying any bit of (what they see as) pertinent info to TPTB." ---------- if that is true then the person is not the principal who was horrified with the removal of the child and was prepared to write a letter to MCFD and other authorities until her superior in the district told her if she did that, she would lose her job.

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  14. Imagine being threatened that you would lose your job, all because you want to help a child avoid the worst kind of suffering. Who is this superior in the school district, and on what authority does he/she pronounce that the principal of Ayn's school cannot write a letter of support for Derek Hoare? And why is it that MCFD can have such great influence in the schools in terms of how they indoctrinate teachers, and other staff, as well as students, with respect to their child protection philosophy, yet when a parent tries to get a letter of reference from a taxpayer paid employee (that is, the principal) that principal is threatened with losing her job?

    And for all those people who want a good idea of just how damaging MCFD can be in terms of their relationship with students at school, we need only look as far as the Reena Virk case. Reena Virk was taken from good parents, and thrust into the MCFD black hole and we all know how that ended. And when Reena's parents tried to sue MCFD they were told they were out of time.

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  15. Sign the Petition to Bring Ayn Home:

    www.care2.com/causes/bring-ayn-home-autistic-girl-taken-from-home-by-province.html

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  16. Notification: To the Commenter who submitted a comment at 7:21 PM - It doesn't appear here. I rejected the comment. I know your personal loss, your anger. Each time your read about another case it must stir your feelings afresh. I am sorry for what you have experienced and continue to go through. Your content however, was something that could not pass my comment filter.

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  17. In reply to Anon 7:01 PM
    My reference to the school principal originated from information divulged during the on-air interview at RoadKill Radio Tues night.

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  18. More often than not, it is someone who is on the periphery of a childs life. A person who sees bits and pieces, assumes the worst, without having the entire picture.

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  19. Canadians still don't understand the fact that their governments had abandoned them. There is no democratic governments in North America, only corporate governments, and CAS is one such corporate government, private but fully funded by the taxpayers money, yet no credibility and accountability. The elected corporate government doesn't want them to be accountable, otherwise, they would set out in full force to implement the bill they passed to make all CAS criminals to register as social workers with the Ontario college of Social work. CAS itself is a illegitimate baby born from a wedlock between the criminals (the government) and the devils, the CAS corporate people. Where else in this world this kind of abuse by power and justice is brought upon the people. I am a Canadian citizen, and I am looking for chance to go back to my home country, and give up my Canadian citizenship. I cannot live a country with a constant fear that my Children would be abducted from the school or playground by some body working for a private corporation with the help of police. CAS have quota like the police, police have a quota of tickets to be issued, CAS have quota to abduct this number of children. I fear that tomorrow, they would come knocking my door, to tell me that I am not using winter tires for my car, so my kids are not safe and they would drag my kids. They would arrange promotion for teachers who help them to get something out of a childs fantasy. They have moles placed all over your neighborhood, and if they can't muster enough through this moles, they would use the 'anonymous' clause. CAS is nothing but devils with legal powers.

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  20. As Bruce McNeill is director for both Surrey and Hope, does this mean that he is also director for Abbotsford? Is it the same director as in the Bayne case? Can anyone answer that please?

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  21. I read somewhere that Bruce McNeill is the director of the Fraser Region. The Fraser Region, according to the governent at least, includes Abbotsford, Surrey, Hope, Delta, Chilliwack, Mission, and Whiterock, and perhaps more.

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  22. Why does Ayn have a different last name then her dad? is he the biological father?

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  23. Yes Derek is Ayn's biological father. Derek explained to me that both he and the girl's mother agreed to give the girl the mother's surname (Vandyk)to avoid any stigma that might attach to a synonym word that rhymes with his surname 'Hoare'.

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  24. This child is being abused by the system. How awful in a "Civilised Society".

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  25. This case against Hoare's family is very disturbing. I found a link & petetion through Care2.com. We need to share this info with more Canadians, and beside donations how can we help if we are out of province?

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  26. Let's for a moment give the procedural issues a rest (they are pertinent but seems to me like we are losing focus). I am a disabled single mother with two sons with ASD.

    At times it is difficult to keep an eye on both of them at the same time. I can't imagine how Mr. Hoare does it without any assistance. This is not a judgment on his willingness, but even the most skilled and astute parent would be pushed to his or her limits under the same conditions.

    The issue is, however, how thin is he spread and how much attention does the little girl get when he is already preoccupied with two more severely autistic children.

    While it is POSSIBLE that someone is repeatedly calling child protective services, it is also possible that different people are seeing him struggle and fear for the welfare of the children.

    I am not a stranger to child protective services as I was homeless for some time and in my county it is a requirement to have a social worker assigned to the case if there are children involved in a homelessness situation.

    I have had the police at my home because I had issues of violence with my oldest son (ASD) and as a single mother with no resources(financial or otherwise)I needed a concrete way to break the tension and behavior when all other avenues had been exhausted.

    Would I be frantic if my child was picked up at school and taken into protective custody? You better believe it.

    It is not my intent to be offensive, but let's make sure that we are looking at all the angles in a particular story.

    The coercion is wrong without a doubt (asking him to voluntarily remand his daughter into protective custody). However, some of the points raised in this story (whether she was on medication or not) are simply irrelevant and to me a deliberate ploy to sway people to override their logic and intellect with emotion.

    I understand all too well the need for a stable and consistent home life. Certainly it would be preferable to have all of the children returned to the father. The fact is however, the little girl goes to school, and will continue to do so. She will be she is exposed to strangers. Autistic or not, any child that is in protective custody is likely to suffer from innumerable fears. She may not like changes in her environment, but it is a necessary evil.

    What I see here is a total lack of support and acknowledgement by the powers that be for SINGLE parents with limited financial resources. What is needed is better assistance for single parents at low or no cost, which arrives rapidly after the request (not after months on a waiting list) so that the immediate pressure is released.

    It is possible that someone saw something that caused them to believe that Mr. Hoare may be in over his head. Let me be clear, I am NOT implying that he is a poor father or that he is somehow deficient. What I am saying is that sometimes even when we do our utmost it is not enough.

    Anyone with ONE autistic child, regardless of the severity of the disorder, has his or her hands full. There are things that happen that are scary - like when my son was picked up by the police because he was wandering around the apartment complex when he was supposed to be in the care and control of my neighbor. Instead he wandered off because it was too noisy while I was taking my youngest son to respite care not 10 minutes away.

    We have to be careful to have a balanced view of the situation. I am certain that the child protective services saw a need to investigate. With so many cases that go sour, I would think thorough investigation would be welcome to prevent very bad things from happening. Again, I am not implying that in fact Mr. Hoare was mistreating his daughter, I am making an observation.

    Mr. Hoare might be best served accepting assistance from family, community or other resources in his day to day living so that he, too, has some room to breathe. (And to level out the playing field and have a better child to adult ratio when it is needed most).

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  27. Hello Anon July 10, 4:57 AM Eastern USA

    You are a brave soul to comment as you have. To be sure, there is an agenda to my blog posts and generally a bias to the comments by contributors each day. The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in British Columbia has achieved a history and a reputation for some highly questionable practice and decisions. When you speak you cannot be aware of the Child, Family and Community Services Act which empowers child protection here. The discussion of the Hoare case cannot be managed without reference to procedural issues. I understand the nature of the caution you are seeking to introduce as you remind us of the heavy demands upon caregivers of severely troubled or handicapped children. You want to counsel against undue criticism and you want to advise readers to be reasonable and realistic. I get it. You have responded to one of the earlier posts. I have written a few more recent posts and provided links to further information about Derek and his daughter. It may help you to read those too if you care to do so. I wonder whether your distance from our jurisdiction and legislation may handicap your appreciation of the predictable injustice that has occurred here.

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