Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Ideally Blue stands for Parent, yellow stands for Social Worker, and red stands for Director. Information freely flows between them as they work to solution. But there is something wrong with that picture. It wasn't accurate to the Baynes' story, or to many others as well. I followed that one and rejoiced when in August 2011 the family of six were reunited permanently after four years of separation. Their story is an intolerable string of injustices.

Like the Baynes, what I learn from Derek Hoare and other parents like him is that at every stage that their child is in the protection process with MCFD, the parents are repeatedly deprived of basic information. That should strike you as discourtesy, irresponsibility and offense. That is certainly contradictory to the (CFCSA) Child, Family and Community Services Act intention and prescription because it is essential that the concerns of the Ministry be communicated in order for the parents to improve their situation so they can get their child back home. Derek can go weeks without an update about Ayn. Does He ask? I don't know. Should he have to? Hasn't the SW promised a regular report? Yes. Now his SW is off until June, and a replacement has been assigned. So how will the information be shared?

It is the duty of social workers to keep parents informed about the status of their file and the plan for their child. In spite of that, parents claim they are uninformed or even misinformed. Parents should be apprised of the steps in a plan by which they can have their children returned. Parents also should be notified of any changes of their child’s placement, or health or medical appointments or procedures and it should disturb us all that parents can give evidence of how often their input is not requested and they are left in the dark or at best informed at the last minute. Rather than clear communication a more apt term for what parents should be able to expect is ‘transparent communication.’ Nothing concealed or disguised. It’s preposterous that I even need to describe these distortions of appropriate practice.

And keep in mind as you read today, that Ayn Van Dyk, Derek's daughter, was removed from his care on June 16th, 2011 and now six months later she is still in Ministry care, and tomorrow, the 14th of December will be her TENTH Birthday, and she will not be at home for it. Her father will not be with her to celebrate. He has his reasons.  Also keep in mind that this little girl is an autistic girl, and her behaviour is predictably unpredictable sometimes, so on June 12th she left home for three hours until she was found by police, and that was deemed as neglect. Of course there are numerous other behavioural incidents in her brief history but these are not uncommon to autistic families and these now have become the evidence of parental neglect, or putting it more diplomatically, "Daddy is overwhelmed."


  1. As you mentioned at the very beginning, "there's something wrong with that picture". Something precipitously wrong. Those entrusted with governing our province keep failing miserably those who have placed them in the positions of power and pay their mostly generous salaries. Our political and social standards continuously erode leaving the voting public with the bag. Our democracy is being hijacked by those who are supposed to work for us, not against. How long will continue and will ever stop this race to the moral bottom?

  2. My experience is that when the agency responsible for child protection has decided that they are going to make your child a crown ward, the information flow comes to a screeching halt. Their view is "Well, it doesn't matter what we tell them to do to improve because regardless, we're seizing the kid anyway".
    Plus, they are building a court case against you, and do not want to tip their hand as to how they will attack or discredit you to convince a judge to give them custody of your kids.
    So it is very important that parents take the initiative and get documented proof that they have attended every parenting class they can find, and consulted and engaged the appropriate experts (medical, phsycological, etc...) who will support your case, all while maintaining employment and a ready home.
    You don't need to share this information with the child protection system beforehand, unless you think it will help to reach an out-of-court settlement, but definately submit as part of your plan of care to show the court that you are capable, and have improved yourself, so that hopefully, a judge will rule in your favor (although the odds have only probably been raised from "none" to "slim")

  3. Yesterday an anonymous writer used the term "bottomless stupidity." I think this is the most apt description since I heard a prison psychologist use the term "invincible ignorance." One could apply either to so many people. Bank presidents, the American religious right who would like to stay in Afghanistan and Iraq for ever and bomb Iran. Or one could apply it to so many of the children's ministry personnel who have been involved in the Bayne and Ayn cases, that one would run out of space. I am beginning to think that one can also apply it to many of the judiciary and the various past children's ministers.
    In dealing with ministry bureaucrats, I sometimes think of the play by Oliver Goldsmith called "the good natured man" The man says " I never listen to reason until my mind is made up. Then it cannot possibly make any difference."

  4. Parents get a 'plan of care' document, that is sparsely populated, and delivered perhaps once, maybe twice during the course of intervention.

    Social graces and 'complete cooperation' (ie. subservience) may get parents more information. Typically, one would ask the children, if they are old enough to convey this information (ie. dental checkups, diet, daily activities etc.)

    Beyond that, obstinance on the part of social workers to respond to simple information requests has to be followed up by court action. Make sure there is a clear paper trail (email, telephone conversations, in-person meetings) that can be illustrated in supporting affidavits so the judge can see the application is not a frivolous act of an parent irate at the system for abducting their child.

    Parents can initiate such action and it does not cost them anything if they are not represented by council.

    In a beaurocracy, one thing you can do to make the proponents of the system tired of you and want to be rid of you and your children (aside from publicizing their every moved) is to out-bureaucratize them by flooding them with paperwork. Draw attention to the local office your are dealing with by involving their superiors.


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