Sunday, November 27, 2011

DEREK HAS NOT VISITED HIS DAUGHTER

Derek has not visited Ayn since she was removed on June 16, 2011. The opportunity has been presented to him. He has chosen not to visit Ayn. Derek has been separated from his wife Amie for three years. During that time Amie and Ayn have become accustomed to Amie’s periodic visits. So, during the five months that Ayn has been in foster care, her mom Amie, has had regular visitations with Ayn and permission was given for these to be unsupervised visits. Ayn has not interpreted her mom’s coming and going as unusual. Derek, on the other hand has not visited his daughter but he misses her incredibly.

Derek is not a foolish father but rather someone who weighs consequences carefully. He has been Ayn’s primary caregiver. He is a full-time father to all three of his children. That has been an agreement that he and Amie have established. Amie has respect for Derek as a father. Then why would he not visit this sweetheart whom he loves. He knows that his decision not to visit is one that requires explanation and he has articulated this in a statement which I will share here today.

You need to know that Ayn responds to Derek. He understands her autism and the behaviour that this condition provokes. When she is difficult to manage at school, he is called and upon arrival, he is able to calm her spirit. There is likely no question that she is a challenge outside Derek’s home, but she adores him. For the first eighteen days of her Ministry custody she cried until social workers requested that Derek provide a photograph of himself for Ayn to hold. She asks for Derek and expects Derek will show up because he always rescues her. His agony is clear when considering the possibility of visiting Ayn and then having to leave her, seeing the terror in which he will leave her. He will not subject her to that. He has received support for his decision from an Autism expert.

Then this week, on November 24th, Amie was informed that her schedule for visits has been reduced and visits will now be supervised. Would you like to know why? Do you really want to subject yourself to another disappointment about the discourtesy and callousness and unreasonable decisions of front line social workers and their supervisors? Clearly a communication breakdown occurred. Social Workers claim that a visit was scheduled for Amie with Ayn this week. Amie did not know that a visit had been scheduled. Why didn’t she? She did not confirm that scheduled visit with social workers and it would have conflicted with her work if she had received anyway.

Will this now be placed in the Ayn file? Will Amie be deemed unreliable? Why the imposition of supervision for her reduced visits? Amie has never been associated with risk or danger. Can you appreciate why observers of this charade of protection grow increasingly suspicious and cynical and incensed?

Here is Derek's own explanation for his Position: "I know the issue of visitation is extremely divisive, and that my view is likely in the minority... but I want people to understand this was made neither lightly nor thoughtlessly... I do soo long to see her believe me. And hence I can completely understand peoples reasons for doing so, it is the natural response; I must however look at this in a long term manner... when Ayn comes home and this is "behind us", will she feel safe, will she know that I would not leave her behind. If you view this for a moment and imagine yourself the victim of an assault laying there pleading for help, or to come home. And your loved one arrives... you are so happy to see them as they are you, but rather than take you away from the situation they walk away leaving you there.... now when it is over and you return.... how do you view that person? What sort of betrayal would you feel... you may be able to understand judicial processes and rationalize why the person left you there... Ayn does not. All she will know is that I would walk away and leave her there rather than honour her wish to come home. that I had the ability to save her but walked away instead... who can she then trust?? that is a permanent realization it does not go away. Many of my closest allies and advisors in this, think I should see her, but they respect my view as I do theirs. For me this is not about satiating a short term desire for us to see each other, this is not about alleviating short term sadness... but is about preserving Ayn's long term belief that in this world she is curiously struggling to understand there are those who will always fight in her defense. She will not understand the nuances of government policy or judicial processes. What Ayn knows is that "Daddy's coming" she knows this... we have a bond that ensures her trust in me. I love her... she loves me.... she knows I will always look out for her... and I'm trying. is this hard yes, very. I cry so much over her absence, I relish everything that reminds me of her. But she will be back and she will know that her home is a safe place and that Daddy never gave up."

Karla Fisher is herself autistic, the same disorder with which Ayn Van Dyk lives. Yet Karla is the author of the article referenced here because she is a brilliant professional woman, mother of grown girls, member of a women’s full contact football team. And here she speaks not only in support of the concerns Derek has about visiting his daughter but Karla is able to speak to what she knows Ayn is processing presently and what it would do to see her daddy walk away from her.

8 comments:

  1. My heart aches for this family. When will our government act on this? Mary McNeil is aware of this situation (Minister responsible for MCFD), Christie Clark is aware, as are many others. And where is the mainstream media in this? They have a responsibility to the public to ask the hard questions.

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  2. The mention visits are 'now supervised' seems to indicate there was a time visits were unsupervised, can you give some clarification on this?

    I gather because Derek did not accept the Ministry's offer of unsupervised access and graduated return over a four month period, MCFD has withdrawn the offer and are now starting to play hardball.

    The bit about Mary McNeil and Christie Clark being aware likely does not matter if there is no political threat if there is no action. Their "out" is to say the "matter is before the courts." Yet, the Ministry can withdraw from the proceedings at any time without repercussions.

    If selective removal of autistic or other special needs children was a widespread occurence, like the penile testing program, the problem Derek and Ayn is going through would be quickly fixed.

    This business of not properly notifying the parent of visit schedule changes, not getting confirmation, or deliberately scheduling during a time of work is standard fare for social workers. After talks break down, MCFD makes the decision to move to a psychological war, and playing with visits is their primary weapon.

    When parents resist any aspect of how MCFD wants them to behave, this is how MCFD acts in order to prepare for the protection hearing. They have a script to follow. Parents who have the fortitude and who manage to survive this and make it the protection hearing, MCFD, in the meantime will have gathered plenty of information to make parents look pretty bad.

    I can well understand Derek's position, and he is of course correct. That said, being right does not serve to improve the condition of the children in care. Children do suffer lifelong damage with the confusion of who is their primary parent: the foster home, the social worker, or their dad. They may bond with the foster family, and thing positively of them even after being returned to their parents.

    MCFD works hard to make biological parents irrelevant in the child's eyss, or at the very least, confuse the hell out of them to increase the level of turmoil in an already-confused child's mind.

    For MCFD, this is simply a matter of self preservation and to protect they way they do business. It is nothing personal. Since I have seen so many parents go through the same process and experience the same anguish, the inescapable conclusion that I come to is that children are simply commodities to be exploited for the purposes of keeping the beaurocracy running.

    If the Ministry is unable to get the parents to accept fault and allow a lengthy graduated return schedule so MCFD can save face and avoid a lawsuit, then their plan B is to make life hard for the parents and children and stir up the emotions in order to gather negative information to prepare for a protection hearing. If parents give no reason for MCFD to withdraw, they can be forced to participate in a protection hearing.

    My concern with this situation with Derek and Ayn is that the bonding damage that occurs when a child does not continue with visits will outweigh the damage due to the sporatic visit problem. I suspect that not visiting will accelerate this permanent damage to the parent-child bond.

    MCFD is well versed in how to break bonds between biological parents and their children in order that the adoptive parents take their place. I have little doubt MCFD has started this process with Ayn.

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  3. I suspect for Karla to be permitted to assess Ayn in person will require a court order to force MCFD to cooperate.

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  4. Although I can understand and sympathize with Derek's position, I feel I must issue a word of caution based on my own experience going through the court system in Ontario.
    The judge said point blank that attending the visits was the most important thing you can do to show your commitment to your child, and missing them is looked upon very unfavourably by the court.
    Just a note of caution that you will face an uphill battle to convince the judge that you are doing the right thing by not seeing her, so be prepared to educate the judge quickly about autism and its effects and why it is better for Ayn that you made the choice you did, and hope that the judge is in a mood to listen and won't dismiss what you have to say. And even then, if they have not walked a mile in your shoes, they may still not be capable of true understanding.
    As pointed out earlier, playing with the visit schedules so that parents cannot attend, or are forced to choose between seeing the kids now or keeping their jobs that would have supported the kids in the future is a tactic that is used. You can be sure that a history of your absence will be highlighted in court and be made to portray you as uncaring.
    Be prepared to prove otherwise.

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  5. For Anon 9:09 PM - my understanding is that Amie (mom) was going to be permitted unsupervised visits but because of this missed visit scenario, MCFD is reverting to the former supervised visit provision.

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  6. One may wonder why such a degree of lawlessness is tolerated within a ministry of a supposedly democratic country committed to law abiding and fairness. MCFD actions are pure disgrace to Canada's reputation.

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  7. While I agree with Derek I also must admit that if I were in this horrible position (and I have had dealing with CAS, I am just very agressive) I would be phoning daily, workers or secretary etc. and asking for daily updates. SW`s hate to be called on their own practices. Record manually (written) every call even if only messages are left. This may help once in court, it shows concern and certainly interest in the well being of Ayn. I personally would be all over them continually and would not let up.
    Derek must start to understand that there will be no win with CAS until he decides to fight back and not worry about good relations. Believe me CAS does not give a darn about good relations. It`s just a string the parent along tool. Just my opion though, my experience with them as well.
    I was a foster child myself, have fought them 3 times and won. Fought them as a parent as well.
    Derek will do what he feels right. I feel for him now as a mother of a special needs child myself. God Bless.

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