Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Ray Ferris retired from a a career with the Ministry of Children and Family Development at a time prior to the present Child, Family and Community Services Act which empowers the current Ministry of Children and Family Development. He has been openly critical of Ministry practices and case management for some time. He contributes comments here and occasionally I print his material as the primary post for the day. This is one of Ferris' posts.
Doug Christie
First one quick comment in response to one writer. Yes it is true that a letter from me was read to the court in the Bayne case. Yes, it is true that the children stayed in care for nine more months. These two were not related however. The ministry had indicated that they wanted a parental capacity assessment done before they would consider returning the Bayne children. I knew that this process could take many months and could be costly. I am just as qualified as anyone else to do such assessments. I completed a fully professional assessment in two weeks, complete with many written references and reference interviews. It was totally factual. Lawyer Doug Christie tried to file it as appropriate under section 68 of the CFCSA.
Without reading it, the director tried to block it from the court on the grounds that it must be biased. In order to support the claim of bias, the ministry read out a letter that I had written to Bruce McNeill in which I criticized some very insensitive behaviour on the part of his staff. Note that the court had no problem reading from this letter, but used a totally different interpretation of the law, when asked to read another document I had written. Now who do you think is biased? Of course after many months the psychologist came to the same conclusions that I did. The Bayne's new lawyer insisted that he read my assessment and that he did not need to duplicate the work that I had done. Too bad the judges always play patsy with the ministry.

Secondly, I think that the best interests of the children demand that the case be settled in a timely manner. There is no guarantee that the mediation process will speed things up. Maybe if you confess to everything and plead for mercy. You should never confess to things that are not true even though a lawyer may advise you to take such an expedient course. Time and time again we have learned that the ministry is adversarial and cannot be trusted. Certainly keep negotiating with them, but never abandon your court dates. Even if the court orders a CCO, you still can appeal to the supreme court, and those judges do not seem to be in the pocket of the children's ministry. I gather from Derek's comment that the social worker has told him that a continuing care order is being sought. Have you received formal written notice of this by way of notice of a court hearing? This is what the law requires.

Finally, there may be many different reasons for a change of social worker and it may mean nothing. Some people report frequent changes during the course of the case, but as they are usually under the thumb of the director. Any high profile case--and this is one--is micro-managed by Bruce McNeill. Indeed it is because of previous bad experiences with him that I am inclined to give Derek Hoare the benefit of any doubt. I never tolerate what I have reason to believe is the neglect or abuse of children, whether by parent or ministry. I will write more next week.
Look for Ray Ferris' article tomorrow entitled  WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN 30 YEARS TO FRACTURE CHILD WELFARE

1 comment:

  1. In your esteemed experience and opinion, Ray, are there many social workers on a "power-trip"? How many social workers, I wonder, allow their own personal childhood history to interfere with their decision-making?
    To my colleagues and I, you represent the epitome of a righteous child-protection worker: one who champions fearlessly for children, without cowardice.
    Is it simply that the MCFD is overloaded, overwhelmed and ignorant, or does the subject matter of their investigations render them cognitively immobile? This is a global concern, it is not localized to British Columbia. I look forward to your response.
    Thank you for being a hero for our children.
    Lee Strong
    CEO Views of the Child Society VOCS


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