Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Doug Hughes, Dir Child Welfare
Here is a reply to one of my recent letters to government officials asking for consideration of the Ayn Van Dyk case. It comes from Doug Hughes, the Provincial Director of Child Welfare, and it is written as an official response on behalf of Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Children, Honourable Mary McNeil, though I wrote to each of them separately. So this response can be viewed as the shared perspective of the highest ranking bureaucrats that can relate to the ‘freedom’ of Ayn Van Dyk. If you are dropping in to the blog uninformed, then please know that Ayn is an autistic nine year old who was removed by MCFD following a 3-hour absence from her father’s care. She was playing in her back yard, climbed a fence when daddy wasn’t watching, found a neighbour’s back yard and played there. That was 5 ½ months ago, June 16th to be precise.  

Ref:  202708

Dr. Ron Unruh

Dear Dr. Unruh:

Thank you for your e-mails of November 14, 2011, addressed to the Honourable Christy Clark, Premier and the Honourable Mary McNeil, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, expressing your concerns about the removal of Mr. Hoare’s autistic daughter.  As the Provincial Director of Child Welfare for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, I am pleased to respond on their behalf.

I appreciate receiving your e-mail.  I know it is distressing when one reads about parents being separated from their children.  However, I can assure you that the safety and well-being of this child is the ministry’s highest priority. 
Due to confidentiality provisions in the Child, Family and Community Service Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, it would be inappropriate for me to share any specific information regarding this matter. 

Thank you again for taking the time to write and for sharing your concerns.



Doug Hughes
Provincial Director of Child Welfare

Sent on behalf of the Provincial Director of Child Welfare by:
Client Relations Branch
Office of the Deputy Minister
Ministry of Children and Family Development
We are setting the standard of excellence throughout government,
in the delivery of quality customer information

pc:     Honourable Christy Clark

I have responded this way …………
Doug Hughes
Provincial of Child Welfare

Mr. Hughes, I do appreciate your attention in sending this note. I understand the confidentiality factor. It was important for me to express my deep concern for the return of this child to a very able father, and I am glad that you have taken time to read the concern.

Dr Ron Unruh
Surrey, BC
Now I make a brief comment. Mr. Hughes, you write, “I can assure you that the safety and well-being of this child is the ministry’s highest priority.” It is a safe, sound and standard sentence. However, I suspect that neither you Mr. Hughes, or Ms. McNeil, or Hon. Christy Clark actually know whether the safety and well-being of Ayn Van Dyk is being realized. I question that you know that whereas Ayn did not require anti-psychotic drugs when she was under the exclusive care of her daddy, she is now receiving strong medication, and whereas an occasional wander-off is characteristic conduct for an autistic child yet the June 12th incident was deemed by MCFD as reason for removal, Ayn has during her time in MCFD care escaped on two occasions. Further, the last break-out from foster care was from her bath, through a window and naked into the street. So I posit that if the safety and well-being of Ayn Van Dyk is the highest priority of you three individuals with the utmost power over children in this province, you should personally disregard protocol and ‘meddle’ in a regional director’s business, and ultimately send Ayn home, specially so this little girl can celebrate her tenth birthday with her family on December 14thHer father Derek Hoare is notably gifted and committed to looking after his children. Ayn should be returned quickly to him, for her well-being. Please. (I will send the latter comment today.)


  1. Ron, I am grateful for others like you who are continuing to write to government officials to help them see that Ayn should not have been removed from the care of her father, and plead for her speedy return. I believe that in the near future, Ayn will be returned to her dad. I pray that she will be home for Christmas - for real, not only in her dreams. I also hope & pray she'll be home for her birthday too! Thanks for continuing to blog about this issue & helping others to become aware!

  2. I agree with every thing Ron Unruh has written regarding Ayn Van Dyk. A speedy solution to this case would be in the best interests of all concerned, not least the reputation of the MCFD and would certainly make a lot of people very happy.

  3. Absolutely outstanding. It's also noteworthy that Mr. Hughes's letter is not only a standard form one, but also written in not so stellar English, as it's generally agreed that starting a sentence with "Due" is a poor grammar.

  4. Thank-you Dr. Unruh for raising the important point that it is indeed time for Doug Hughes, Mary McNeil, and Premier Christy Clark to disregard protocol and ‘meddle’ in the regional director’s business.

    MCFD's mandate is to protect children, but when their own actions go counter to what is best for the child then it is indeed time for our elected officials to take action. This is particularly relevant given Premier Clark's slogan of "family first".

  5. It frustrates me to no avail, when I see concerned members of the public writing into the higher ups of MCFD, only to have a form letter response. There should be some public accountability when it comes to high profile cases such as the Hoare case. Thousands of people have flocked to facebook showing their unanimous support of Mr. Hoare. When there is so much attention drawn to particular cases, I think that the Ministry's higher ups, need to give parents an option of a consent to release information so that they may share the information with the public. So for example if you Ron Unruh wanted to get a specific response, if you had a freedom of information consent from Derek Hoare, they should be able to release the information. Just a thought on how they should respond to public inquiries.

    1. So if a bunch of people said on Facebook your children should be removed then random members of the public should be able to demand info about your Mcfd files from social workers? you wouldnt be happy if the social workers could release your info because they felt it was a high profile case and the public was interested. It goes both ways. Nothing stops the person from speaking publicly.. Mcfd should not have to release info to and debate with anyone who happens to be interested. So if Facebook says someone should have their children back you're in favour, but if Facebook comments against child killers as in the Stafford case you think that's bad??

  6. Wonderful letter and very important points are made by Dr. Unruh. What a sad time we live in when the people in the highest position to "protect" our children do nothing of the sort. A form letter in regards to a FAMILY and CHILD's life is the highest form of insult and an abuse in of itself. Shame on the BC Ministry - SHAME!

  7. My apologies for the tardy publication of comments today. Lost them for a while. OK now. And Thanks for writing.

  8. Ron; I was not going to write on the Ayn issue, but then there is no distinction between any of these issues. One could write the same on any one of a dozen cases.
    So we have the brave new system. We have a new more sensitive deputy minister, a new senior bureaucrat who can tell regional directors what to do and a new gung-ho minister for children. Oh whoopy-ding-ding-ding. We have the same form letter and the same stock evasion as before. Would they say anything different if Ayn's Dad had written? Not likely. No one would have to protect the privacy of Ayn and telling her dad anything would invade her privacy.
    One could ask how come it has taken 3, 4, 5 months to complete the presentation and how this fits into the act. One could ask a lot of questions, but all you will get is bafflegab. When will Dad get his day in court when he can challenge the ministry to prove its case? This year, next year, sometime, never?
    The child protection system is broken beyond repair, but just the same "the care and well-being of children is our highest priority"
    Oh by the way a response to papa. No the social workers do not know about the damgage of separation. When children show anxiety disorders due to separation, the social workers comfort themselves by rationalising that this is all due to the abuse they got at home.

    1. In our opinion Beth Flynn Community Services manager,Tammy Peterson social worker and Cheryl Beauchamp team leader of the Kelowna offices have displayed no compassion of how she they are punishing, emotionally hurting and damaging the child in our family's case by their divide and conquer tactics favouring one parent over another and causing the child's separtation anxiety .We all question if these three MCFD employees understand what they are doing to this young helpless child. In our opinion this young child is being abused by MCFD.We all have been lead to beleive by their words and actions that these 3 heartless MCFD females do not care to understand how our child feels. The extreme measures that have been taken to date to implement lack of contact between the loving caring parent whom the child adores is abusive.Prolonging the case by silent provaction on their part to justify their jobs is heartwrenching for all members of family and close friends who are witness to their abuse of power.They cetainly do not uphold every clause the Child Family and Services Act nor do they adhere to all the interal policy and rules of the MCFD mandate.
      As tax payers it is our opinion these 3 MCFD employees are squandering public funds in a case that should have been resolved many monthe ago.

    2. Thank you for your comment recently. I am aware of the concerns about which you are writing. I would appreciate more than casual insinuations but actual exampes of the extreme measures about which you speak. However, if there is a privacy concern I will understand your hesitation. You may contact me privately at

  9. @Ray Ferris I agree with you when you say "no the social workers do not know about the damage of separation When children show anxiety disorders due to separation the social workers comfort themselves by rationalising that this is all due to the abuse they got at home." I put this question forward to my social worker, who has conduct of my family services file, and he pretty much said that forbadum.

  10. Diane, my apology for the delay in publishing your comment. I missed it because of a new google blogging format. I'll get the hang of it.


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