Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Ayn's case management is clearly out of focus
Derek Hoare is the father of all three children. He is still the primary parental caregiver to his two sons and before the June 16, 2011 apprehension of his daughter Ayn, he was her principal caregiver as well. These are Derek’s and Amie’s children. Derek and Amie are no longer together, and in their settlement Amie agreed that Derek should have custody of the children. Derek is a stay-at-home father. Mother and father also agreed that Ayn’s surname shall be her mother’s maiden name.

Was Ayn Van Dyk removed from her father’s active care because he was negligent in his care of her?
Was the standard of care customarily expected from a responsible parent violated?
Is there any breach of parental trust that is measurable enough to warrant her removal from her family and her subsequent foster care for the past 200 days?

If the front-line social workers employed by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development and who were charged with the responsibility of responding to a June 12, 2011 incident deemed that the answer to the above questions was ‘Yes,’ then their casework should be called into question.

The answer to each of the questions is a categorical “NO.”

Read this and tell me whether or not you agree with me. Ayn Van Dyk is a ten-year old girl diagnosed with autism. She has a brother who is also autistic, and yet another old brother who has no such condition. Ayn has demonstrated throughout her short life, the typical manifestations of severe autism. Derek has been committed to a gentle personal intervention and resolution to each occurrence of inflamed or bizarre behaviour. His reward has been the experience of witnessing an autistic girl making progress and loving music and art and her father and mom and brothers. Yet, on June 12th, 2011 while playing in large playhouse on stilts in her backyard, she managed to scale a tall fence and to walk a neighbour’s home. When Derek noticed her absence, he did an immediate unsuccessful search and then called authorities. Police found her three hours later, safe and playing nearby. She was returned to Derek that day but four days later she was taken from her school by MCFD.

Referring to the original questions and based on a cursory acquaintance with the relevant family information, I must conclude that Ayn’s trip down the block is an unreasonable basis to presume Derek was overwhelmed by his childcare duties, or was actually negligent. Every parent of a non autistic child is familiar with the anxiety of a child suddenly out of sight and even lost for some time. This is generally a result of a child’s inquisitive mind rather than a parent’s inferior child care. Of course I understand that MCFD had a file with Ayn’s name in which prior incidents or issues were recorded and these would have influenced the caseworkers’ judgement. Nonetheless, the accumulated weight of evidence at the time of Ayn’s removal could just as easily have been used to conclude that if the MCFD provided Derek with some additional resources, he would be able to do an improved job of parenting two autistic children. That expenditure would undoubtedly have been less than the cost of placing her in a foster home and paying foster parents to look after her. It would have been the most reasonable course of action when it was apparent before and it has been manifestly evident since, that this girl loves her father and thrives within her family. That social workers did not recognize that then, and that case workers do not acknowledge that now is demonstrative of an appalling level of professional negligence. By any levelheaded standard of care, the best interests of this loving child have not been considered and certainly not improved by forcing her to live apart from her family for over six months.

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