Friday, December 27, 2013


The photo quality may be grainy, the girl in the photo is high quality. She is Ayn Van Dyk, a lovely child. We are closing in 2014 and Ayn has been held by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development for two and one half years. I underscore once again the perceived unfairness of this action. Examination of the Ministry's rationale would reveal that the perception leans heavily in the direction of fact. The girl did not need to be removed from her father and brothers when in June 2011, she wandered from her fenced back yard. She is autistic. She should not longer be deprived of her siblings and mom and dad. Either of these parents is capable of caring for her. Ministry officials and social workers, please look into this case with determination to make this right.

Friday, November 29, 2013


We have received word that Loren Humeny has passed away recently after being diagnosed with cancer and battling the disease for a while. Loren was the social worker charged with the responsibilities associated with the Paul and Zabeth Bayne case which occupied so much attention for over four years as they sought to recover custody of their children.

I had one private conversation with him in the hallway of the Chilliwack courthouse building as we waited for the court case to begin. I learned then, that this man was a family man and a community man and there were aspects of his job with which he was uncomfortable. I became certain then that he did not like being typecast as a villain.

I am saddened to hear of his death and I am sorry for his family's loss of someone whom they loved.

Monday, November 25, 2013


The entire six part series can be referenced here at the Edmonton Journal. It begins with this ...
Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal
Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald
Photo: Greg Southam
"In 2009, the Edmonton Journal asked the government of Alberta how many children had died in its care that year. The government couldn’t provide a number, nor could it answer other questions about foster care deaths. It was not new; reporters had been having trouble getting this information for years. So, the Journal put in a request to see all internal government reports related to the deaths of children in care from 1999 to 2009. The government declined, citing privacy issues. But in June 2013, after a four-year legal battle, Alberta’s access to information commission forced the government to release information on each child that had died in its care between 1999 and 2013."


This is hot off the press news this morning. Two newspapers in Edmonton and Calgary have had staff journalists doing a several month investigation of Alberta's children's ministry and specifically the numbers and kinds of deaths of children and youth in foster care over the past 15 years. It's appalling that the number is so high and that most of these have been undisclosed, that is, kept secret from the public.

Video: Dead in Six Days: The Story of Baby Delonna

Fatal care: read the full series

Editorial: Secrecy in child welfare system fails the powerless

Fatal Care series: Let us know what you think

Fatal Care: read the documents

Fatal care: Foster care tragedies cloaked in secrecy

The investigation: Why — and how — we did it

Five other cases of deaths in care the public should know about

No trial, no answers for foster family who tried to help raise troubled 15-year-old
She was murdered and dumped in a ditch in the remote, heavily forested area northwest of Rocky Mountain...

Five other cases of deaths in care the public should know about
A 14-year-old girl from the Blood First Nation near Lethbridge disappeared on her way home from school...

Editorial: Secrecy in child welfare system fails the powerless
In the middle of a blinding snowstorm, an Edmonton Journal team drove west recently to visit the parents...

Monday, November 18, 2013


Rob Ford is a life coach right now. Here is what he is teaching Canadians. We have not seen a repentant Rob Ford, not yet. We have seen a proudly apologetic Rob Ford. We have also witnessed defiance. Evidently, apology and defiance can partner together. They are not mutually exclusive. Repentance and defiance however, are diametrical - opposites. Repentance in this situation, can only be authenticated by Mr. Ford’s resignation from the office of Mayor of Toronto. Apology and repentance are not parallel terms or character statements. The citizens of Toronto, the City Councillors, the network of Canadian Mayors deserve more than apology now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Here is another thought from my friend Ray Ferris. Ray Ferris is a retired child-protection worker and the author of  The Art of Child Protection.

In Britain child protection legislation is national, but the execution of the work is delegated to local authorities, such as cities and towns, or county councils. Local authorities set up child welfare services, but are subject to accountability to the national government. The U.K. gets its fair share of child protection horror stories, but there does seem to be a difference about how they are handled. Also it is much more possible to have an efficient service in one municipality and a terrible one in the next.

Following the death in two different municipalities of children, in which the social workers repeatedly ignored compelling evidence, a judicial inquiry took place. The Haringey authority and another one were declared to be “unfit for purpose.” That has a nice ring to it and would apply here don’t you think?

Friday, November 15, 2013


Rob Ford is a man of faith. He believes in himself absolutely. He unreservedly believes that he is meant to be Mayor and that he is unimpeachable by virtue of being Rob Ford, and that his agenda and solutions for Toronto are indispensable. So committed is he to this faith that a compromise, a leave of absence to seek help is deemed by him to be a surrender. Not his occasional drug taking or dishonesty but his unqualified faith is dehumanizing him and corrupting him.

For all our sakes we wish to bestow power upon the wise. Sadly, all of us, including the wise, share a potential for corruptibility. Bestow power on a person and you create a true test of character. History and experience inform us that power attracts the corruptible. Invariably, power in human hands will be liable to abuse. We can never assume that power and wisdom are synonymous. These are truths we are relearning as we watch Rob Ford's world unravel. I hope he receives help willingly and survives as a father and husband but not as a Mayor.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Rob Ford doesn’t get it and he doesn’t want to hear it. He needs help. I have viewed video of Rob Ford in today’s Toronto City Council meeting. Thirty of his fellow council members stood to tell him that he should take a leave of absence and seek help. His responses indicate that he has no idea about authentic leadership.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Ray Ferris thinks I am more forgiving of social workers than he would be, so he wrote the following. 

I think if you want to assess the social workers properly then you need to go back to basic principles. This is what I always start off with and when you do that, the matters usually become quite clear. The basic mandate of child protection is to ensure that a child can be made safe at home, or in alternative care. This principle is firmly embodied in the CFCSA in which there are many admonitions to extend help to parents in making sure their children are protected.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Justice is a garment prepared for residents of this planet. It is woven from billions of threads, knit together into a strong and integrated fabric. Love is the thread and it has produced a fabric of integrity.

Injustice occurs when countless numbers of these threads are pulled from the garment. The wearer of the garment is then uncovered and vulnerable.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


The Poisoned Apple by DevianArt
Ray Ferris has written another timely piece today. Ray is an occasional contributor who provides sage counsel because of his years working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. He meets many families who are struggling to recover their children from MCFD and is justifiably critical of the cruel bureaucratic delays. Today he writes about Mediation and expresses caution.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Kim Bolan is tweeting and reporting daily on the Trial of three accused killers and members of the drug trade in BC. You can follow her stories. I will discontinue further comments here on this blog site, unless I feel an outcome needs to be noted. Other subjects will be featured here.

Friday, October 11, 2013


End of week two of the Surrey Six murder trial. Here again is Kim Bolan's Vancouver Sun account of Friday's testimony. Jason Le, former drug dealer was on the stand.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


The Surrey Six Murder Trial continues. It's almost the end of the second week of court. Kim Bolan is covering the story and has written: "Today, former drug dealer admitted at the Surrey Six trial that he initially lied to police about being in the death suite shortly before the slayings. Jason Le told Justice Catherine Wedge that he was trying to protect himself by the omission in a March 2008 interview with a homicide detective. Le testified last Friday that he visited suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower about 1:30 p.m. after being invited to work for dealers Corey Lal and Eddie Narong. He said he stayed about 15 minutes, leaving less than an hour before Lal, Narong and four others were shot execution style."

Please read the rest of her account here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Helen Lee was a witness who saw three men wearing gloves and hoodies getting out of a BMW and entering the building where the murders took place. They made an impression on  her that alarmed her.

Monday, October 7, 2013


5 accused are circled - Vancouver Sun image
Monday's court time was spent with Helen Lee's witness testimony. She saw three men as suspicious on the afternoon of the killings, getting out of a BMW all wearing gloves and dark hoodies pulled over their faces. Read Bolan's account.

Follow Keith Fraser's twitter account. He's in court and sends tweets every few minutes thru the day.
Kim Bolan's Twitter account also carries regular news updates on this case.

Mohan, 22; Schellenberg, 55; Eddie Narong, 22; Corey Lal, 21; Michael Lal, 26; and Bartolomeo, 19; were shot to death execution-style, according to the Crown.
Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and Michael Le have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


KIM BOLAN continues to provide good coverage of this horror show. It was day five on Friday. Six people died as a result of gang retaliation, including two innocents, one of whom was a friend of mine, Ed Schellenberg. 

Read the Vancouver sun account.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Day Four, Thursday Oct 3rd, 2013 in the Surrey Six Murder trial is accounted by journalist Kim Bolan in an article entitled, 'Landlord inspected 1505 six days before the Surrey Six murders'. The suite was a rental and prosecution submits it was a stash house for a drug gang.

She writes: The owner of suite 1505 in Surrey’s Balmoral Tower testified Thursday that he kicked out a suspected drug dealer but then let the tenant’s friend and her boyfriend move in. Ceasar Tiojanco told Justice Catherine Wedge that he evicted tenant Sean Corbett in early 2007 after the building managers told him Corbett had a grow-op in another apartment. “Since the manager notified me about the involvement in illegal activity, I told him he has to move out,” Tiojanco testified on day four of the Surrey Six murder trial. “And then he introduced me to Desiree who he said is a good person and would be good to take over the tenancy and I agreed.” Six people, including innocent bystanders Ed Schellenberg and Chris Mohan, were shot to death in Tiojanco’s suite on Oct. 19, 2007."

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Kim Bolan
photo: Nick Procaylo
Wed Sept 5 2013 - I won't follow the case publicly every day for the anticipated year long trial. I simply want to suggest to you that Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun, an award winning journalist and crime reporter, does a thorough job of researching and writing the account of this horrific crime that occurred six years ago. You can stay tuned to the case by referencing the Vancouver sun website and Kim Bolan's 'The Real Scoop' page. Presently, three accused men are on trial for the murder of six men, two of whom were innocent persons, who were eliminated because they were witnesses at a crime scene. One of them was Ed Schellenberg, known to me personally and to many of my friends. Here is Kim's report on Day Three.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Vancouver Sun Report here
Artist Sketch, Felicity Don, Canadian PressAccused:Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston,
and Quang Vinh Thang (Michael) Le 

Monday, September 30, 2013


A CTV Image of Mohan and Schellenberg

The murder trial begins today, six years after the crime. Six years is a long time to wait. It’s a long time for the families of two innocent men to wait for justice to prevail within our system of law. The case is popularized as the Surrey Six because six victims were found dead in an apartment suite. Four of the victims, Edward Narong, 22, Corey Lal, 21, his brother Michael Lal, 26, and Ryan Bartolomeo, 19 were the intended targets in a drug related turf war. Christopher Mohan was 22-year-old student who lived nearby and 55 year old Ed Shellenberg was doing routine furnace work in the building. They were in the wrong place when evil went down.


Dear Amie, Derek, advocacy colleagues and friends,
I will stay tuned to learn that Ayn has been returned home. I applaud those of you who have already made supportive inputs to the Van Dyk/Hoare cause.  Do keep up your good work. For personal reasons I myself am withdrawing as an active participant. I believe the case is resolving gradually. Ayn belongs with her family.

This announcement means that for the foreseeable future I will not be using the GPS blog to speak to Ministry of Children and Family Development issues. I am satisfied that from 2009-2013 it was useful in making the public aware and in alerting officials to genuine concerns about case management, specifically with respect to Zabeth and Paul Bayne and their four children who were separated from one another for four years, 2007-2011, and latterly Amie Van Dyk and Derek Hoare whose autistic daughter Ayn, has been removed from them and her two brothers since June 2011. Her case has been well documented over the past two years on this blog site. I believe that MCFD will within months return Ayn to her family.

Thank you for following the stories here. Come back. Other stories will come up.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We applaud our democracy. Within this democracy autonomy is descriptive of parental rights to decide for their children all that pertains to educational opportunities, religious heritage, discipline, cultural and recreational activities. Parents possess substantial rights as well as responsibilities with regard to the care of their children.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


On Monday 22nd Sept 2013, Amie Van Dyk wrote the comment of a mom who has waited a long time to visit with a daughter who is still a little girl. Her daughter was taken into the custody of the Ministry of Children in British Columbia on June 16, 2011. That’s a long time isn’t it?

Monday, September 23, 2013


Do you think this is happening, that is, the deconstruction of the family in the name of promoting the welfare and safety of the child? Is it unreasonable to pose this question? Does it sound like the query of a paranoid author? I don’t see it as an irrational question because I am no longer a young parent with young children but I am a concerned observer of societal and governmental behaviour.

The legal rights of families and parents are being redefined under our noses.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Are ‘human freedom’ and ‘human dignity,’ values that we want to preserve here in Canada? Do I hear a unanimous and audacious “YES!” Do we want to preserved them here in British Columbia?

If so, then why? I can venture an answer. Because among other benefits that family autonomy achieves for us in a free society, are diversity, variety, and multiplicity. Don’t tell me that these are not important to us, to you. Few of us are enchanted by sameness.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


The family is the primary social institution. The family is the primary conservator and transmitter of values, beliefs and traditions. Conservation of family autonomy should be among the most important objectives of provincial and federal governments. This commitment must become evident to Members of the Legislative Assembly of B.C. and to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and to Educators and to Law Enforcement that any intervention into family is like an invasion into its sanctity because it endangers family customs and ideals? Furthermore, parental liberty is fundamental to the concept and function of family.

Friday, September 20, 2013


This is with respect to the case of Ayn Van Dyk, the 11 year old autistic girl who has been separated from her mom and dad by the MCFD for over two years in foster care, a case about which I have made numerous blog comments during that time.

A QUESTION WAS PUT TO ME TODAY: "Considering all that MCFD has done, and considering that all of us here - from a very wide variety of backgrounds, etc. - find the treatment of Ayn appalling, do either of you consider what has been done to Ayn "child abuse"? I know I do."

Thursday, September 19, 2013


A letter from Ray Ferris - Written to the Times Colonist  

Ray Ferris is a retired child-protection worker and the author ofThe Art of Child Protection.

"You report another child welfare horror story. Such professional incompetence is entrenched and institutionalized in British Columbia and many other child welfare jurisdictions. The Internet is rife with horror stories. Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun recently covered a case that cost an estimated two to three million dollars before the children’s ministry withdrew from the case and returned the children to the mother. Anyone can read the scathing judgement here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


We pay good money to operate a government for the people.

We pay our taxes, all of us do, as citizens of the commonwealth, the federal government of Canada, and the British Columbia government for a province that we call home. We love it here and together we are the people.

Our expectations are routine enough. We want reliable representation by ordinary people standing in on our behalf to create and manage respectable law and policy to service people and the communities in which we live.

We value statements by government agencies that have the sound of credibility such as “In the best interests of children.” We believe innocently, naively that all agencies mean what they say, or that all employees within them, operate with authenticity.

Then something like this happens.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


The CBA is the largest national lawyer association in Canada. It represents 37,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers and students. Its annual conference was held at the end of August 2013 in Saskatoon, and special invitees and speakers were Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin, Justice Minister Peter MacKay and CBC's Peter Mansbridge.

Delegates at the annual meeting of the Canadian Bar Association conference in Saskatoon (CBA) were discussing the merits of several proposed legal reforms, some of which derive from a new 54 page report by the CBA, titled Reaching Equal Justice, which was released at conference. The report pointed to severely unequal access to justice in Canada.

Beverly McLachlin, Chief Justice 
the Supreme Court of Canada, ' 
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)
Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin then spoke to this concern, saying that ensuring that Canadians are able to access the system, is the most pressing challenge facing the administration of justice in this country. She conveyed that peoples' lives are being ruined when they can't get access to justice. McLachlin said, "We know that there are a lot of needs. People just swallow their pain and their loss and live with it, I guess, in some unsatisfactory way feeling they can't get justice."

Saturday, September 14, 2013


You will need to refer back several blog posts to catch the significance of the court case that has captured Ray Ferris's attention. The judge ruled against a father who he said had abused his children, and roundly faulted MCFD for believing him and getting it so wrong, and awarded the children to the mother. Now she is suing MCFD. Listen to Ferris below ... By the way, he is a colleague advocate for change to MCFD and for justice to the improperly treated.

Friday, September 13, 2013


In view of Ray Ferris' attention to a specific case in previous posts here, and given the example of Justice Paul W. Walker's displeasure with social workers' inadequate case management, perhaps other judges will also conclude that MCFD exercises a mandate that is at times unrestrained and unchallenged.

In this video clip depicting the decision of a Kentucky judge sentencing a social worker to 5 years of hard time because she filed false reports concerning children, parents and families, there is a powerful implication that immunity cannot be assumed by social workers performing their work with incompetence or carelessness.

Here, the misdemeanour was dishonesty that put children at risk by leaving them within abusive homes or parental custody.

I am confident that unless British Columbia social workers become more eager to return children who have been removed unnecessarily or at least retained for unreasonably long times, they too will at some point in the near future find themselves facing charges and jail time and compensatory penalties. Public awareness reaches judges as well.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Ian Mulgrew
Pertaining to the Judge Walker case previously discussed, please be informed that a lawsuit is being presented and adjudicated against the Ministry of Children. Details can be found in this story by Ian Mulgrew.

Quoting Mr. Mulgrew
"The trial has been in Phase 2 since April 10, with the judge hearing the mother’s claims of public malfeasance, bad faith and abuse in care against the ministry to determine liability and damages.This has been going on for three weeks and there are at least another three to go. Legal fees and court costs total between $2 million and $3 million, Hittrich estimated.This is an ugly indictment of the ministry and calls out for an investigation by the Representative of Children and Youth. Aside from the liability issues, there is a serious question about how this happened and why it took so long to resolve."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ray Ferris again on the Justice Walker report

This a commentary from Ray Ferris with whom I have a working relationship when advocating for parents and families whom we have identified as recipients of unwarranted assertions or unreasonable treatment. I respect Ray’s familiarity with case law, the child protection Act and what represents fair case work. You will find occasional blog entries on this site which are written by Ray. This piece continues his recent reporting of a case on which Justice Paul Walker dressed down social workers and made a key judgement. Mr. Justice Paul W. Walker (Vancouver) was appointed to Supreme Court June 18, 2008. Walker has been a partner with Guild, Yule and Company LLP since 1984.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


We are all waiting for her return, none more apprehensively than Amie Van Dyk and her ex husband Derek Hoare. They are the parents of Ayn Van Dyk, the twelve-year old autistic child who innocently meandered from her family back yard in 2011. Ayn was ten years old at that time. Even Ayn with imperfect cognitive capability would have reasoned to stay in her own back yard had she known that the consequence would be her removal from her family for over two years.

Amie and Derek have been informed some months ago that they can expect Ayn to be returned to them some time during the month of September 2013.

Ayn was ten years old when she scaled a fence that surrounded the back yard. She was not affecting a prison break. She was not violating a community standard. She was not disrupting anyone’s peace, although she did cost the taxpayer some money because of the urgently placed 911 call from her father summoning the help of RCMP who sent a helicopter into the Abbotsford skies to locate his child. Even Derek with his anxious parental response would have reasoned to summon friends instead of RCMP had he known that the outcome would be the agony of separation from his daughter for most of these past two years.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


A few months after Ayn Van Dyk was removed from her father's care in June 2011, she was placed with a good foster family. They prepared this video at that time so that Ayn could communicate in a playful way with her father Derek. It is a pleasing video and it was a kind gesture by foster parents. 

Ayn is 12 years of age. She is autistic. She can be difficult to manage, although from this video you might question that. Nonetheless, she has been in the past, difficult for school staff. Always however, her father Derek was capable of calming her via conversation and non medical intervention. Under the care of the Ministry and doctors who treat her now, medication is assisting her behaviour.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


For years sympathizers with the Bayne family dominated the readership of this blog site. Then I took a break but began again to write about Ayn Van Dyk, autistic 12 year old removed from her family to undergo assessment and investigate her family life. This was occasioned by her afternoon skip over the family fence and a wander down the street. She could not be found for three hours. Other readers, occasional and curious take a peek. Some with vested interest in the Ministry of Children browse as well. Be assured that the parents and advocates of child protection reform who comment here are not a small troublesome faction of uninformed complainers.

Critics exist across Canada and in enlightened countries around the world. Critics are calling for greater accountability for the child protection segment of child welfare. That is what must be understood and processed by responsible parties.

Please hear me say that I believe child protection agencies do serve a vital function to safeguard children. Note that I am saying just as emphatically that child protection departments overstep their mandate.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I would like to know whether any of you who are reading today, have had occasion formally to make a complaint about the ministry. We are told that this is possible. When you have concerns about the care of your child in the foster care program or a concern about a social worker, you are entitled to make this complaint known. Have you ever done this? When it is a complaint about a social worker or when you cannot make contact with the SW, you are encouraged to speak with that SW's supervisor. Of course, to do that, you may have to ask the social worker for the name and phone number of their supervisor. Has that worked? And of course you can write a letter of your concern directly to the social worker with a copy to the supervisor and request reconsideration of a decision or action. Have you done this? Beyond that, the Ministry of Children does have a complaint resolution process for which you may call at no charge to 1-877-387-7027 asking for the dispute resolution consultant in your area. Have you tried that and if so, how did it go? When that is unhelpful, you can call the Board of Registration for Social Workers of BC. Their phone number is (604) 737-4916 (in Vancouver). If the social worker is registered with that board, you can file a complaint with them. Some people turn to their MLA, elected representative (Member of the Legislative Assembly). Have you done this? You might contact your Ombudsman if you are getting help nowhere else, by calling (250) 387-5855 (in Victoria) or 1-800-567-3247 (elsewhere in BC; call no charge). You may ask for this help. Have you called that number? When your complaint is about the care being received in a foster situation by your child, call the Representative for Children and Youth of BC. The phone number is (250) 356-0831 (in Victoria) or 1-800-476-3933 (elsewhere in BC; call no charge). E-mail them at

(If you missed the now archived piece, catch Ray Ferris's comment on this same theme.)  If it's as bleak as Ray described it, we are in a deep hole.

Monday, September 2, 2013


I know that I rarely write about positive achievements of the child protection sector of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Of course there are children that are secured from neglect and abuse. Sadly some parents are immature, reckless, substance addicted, or maladjusted and they are not properly caring for their children. MCFD steps in. Surely it is reasonable if I do not mention these cases. That is afte all what MCFD is mandated to do. When the work is well done it doesn't need applause here on this blog. MCFD congratulates itself. Look at its web pages. This blog has focused upon that which is not working effectively in MCFD because that is what requires attention. That's what needs to be fixed so that is where I concentrate. I make no claim to exhaustive journalistic research. I am a listener to real people. A crowd of similar stories informs me that MCFD is in trouble.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


A final word from Ray Ferris today who has written for the past four days. I trust you have appreciated his insights into the machine that is MCFD operations and practice. Some people get chewed up in the gears. It would be nice if the power could be turned off while the service is upgraded. 

Here's Ray,
"Today I will mention another couple of things coming out of the J.P. case. You may have noticed that I went into detail about complicated the process for handling cases appears to be and how many people are involved in a relatively simple piece of work. It’s simple if the person handling it has any skills in interviewing, assessment and evidence, but it’s difficult it’s and error prone if the intake workers are green and under-trained. It becomes even worse if they are incapable of exhibiting judgement. Not only that, they can only report to a team leader who again goes through a process. If there are more than one intakes on one case, a different worker may handle it each time and each one may assess the situation differently. Anyway, even if an intake worker does show good judgement, it makes no difference, because a rigid set of processes must be followed and no deviation can be allowed. This obviously consumes a great deal of duplication by people and of work that is wasteful and unnecessary. Why does this happen?

Friday, August 30, 2013


If you have a complaint to lodge about or against the Ministry of Children and Family Development, or the Child Protection branch, or a specific ministry official, or a court case or decision, then read this for some pointers. It’s Ray Ferris again, writing. He knows what he’s talking about.

“I will make one last point on today’s blog. If you complain about a court case to any ministry official you will always get the same stock reply. 1. They cannot discuss a case that is before the court. 2. They cannot interfere with the court process and influence a judge. Both these statements are nonsense and I will tell you why. It is true that they cannot tell a judge what to do, but they control what goes into the court and what they choose to tell a judge and what to conceal. They are notorious laggards when it comes to making the required disclosures under section 64. The guidelines stress that the hearings on young children must be completed in a timely manner. Both directors and judges seem to forget all about these guidelines when everything is delayed due to lack of disclosure. Yes the director is very successful at influencing the court; so don’t let them tell you otherwise. Likewise under section 48 a director can withdraw from the case at any time after a presentation hearing. All they have to do is to appear and withdraw and to file a written report giving the reasons. The reasons don’t have to make any sense, because only the paper and the signature matter. To the bureaucrat only process matters and content is nether matter. Even after 65 days of hearings, the judge has no choice but to allow the withdrawal.”


Thursday, August 29, 2013


Ray Ferris is picking up where he left off yesterday.

“One thing you have to understand. The law protects regional directors from political interference and it also protects them from accountability. The minister is powerless to interfere with their decisions. The deputy minister also usually stays out of it. All they can do is fire a directors or promote them out of harm’s way, but they cannot overrule. The provincial head honcho was a guy called Ross Dawson. He embarrassed the government by refusing to heed the advice of a watchdog called the children’s commissioner who used his privilege of going public. The minister could not overrule him, so then premier Usal Dosanjh took over. He passed a special order in council removing Dawson as director for that case only and appointing someone else, who obliged with a more sensible decision. After that they did away with the top job and returned all power to the regional directors. Of course one of the first things the liberals did when they came to power was to scrap all the watchdog branches of government. Also when they eventually initiated the current re

Wednesday, August 28, 2013



Today’s entry is a continuation of yesterday’s guest posting by Ray Ferris, when he commented on Justice Paul Walker’s stunning judgement. He picks it up once more.

“Yesterday I wrote about the Walker judgement. Today I continue with some other lessons to be learned from this case. One reason why this case is important is because it is a good object lesson in how the children’s ministry functions and malfunctions. It can be viewed as a staff performance evaluation of the ministry, because it assesses competence at many levels. It does this either directly or by strong implication. If this were a staff performance evaluation it would compel remedial training at every level. These high profile cases are always governed from on high. Can you imagine that the local director could spend the millions that this case cost and other cases have cost without the top brass being involved? No you can’t and neither can I.

I want to give you a bit of history on how the top child welfare bureaucrats have functioned and how they function today. In the early days the legislature considered child welfare to be so important that they appointed an official who reported directly to the legislature and had statutory powers that were not controlled by the deputy minister or the minister. One of the first of these was the superintendent of child welfare, called Ruby McKay. She was beautiful, feisty and knowledgeable. She was a fearless fighter for children’s rights. She provided staff with leadership, inspiration and informative seminars. Staff was still under the normal command hierarchy, but they were accountable to the superintendent for child welfare matters. This situation continued until a very controlling deputy minister found a way of ousting the superintendent and appointing himself in that role as well as being deputy minister.

Then the law got changed. The legislature in its wisdom granted all power in child welfare matters to the regional directors. This was to protect them from undue political interference. However, the legislature in its innocence failed to consider that some of these directors might be incompetent clots and should be held accountable. These directors were, in theory, answerable to a head bureaucrat, but he usually rubber-stamped their decisions. When some nasty cases got bad publicity for the ministry, the top guy had to take the heat. Eventually he made a very dumb decision and embarrassed the government. Then they did away with the top child welfare official and returned all power to the regional directors. That way the top brass could not be embarrassed.

One thing you have to understand. The law protects regional directors from political interference and it also protects them from accountability. (Read more tomorrow)

Ray Ferris is a retired child-protection worker and the author of The Art of Child Protection.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Ray Ferris is a personal friend and more importantly he is an ally to people who are helpless at the hands of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. I welcome his occasional blog contributions here. Ray Ferris is a retired child-protection worker and the author of The Art of Child Protection. TODAY he writes about the judgement that came down recently from Mr. Justice Paul Walker. Believe us, this judgement has shock waves through the MCFD bureaucracy. Ray will speak to that today.

Also, columnist Ian Mulgrew gave a detailed account of the judgement and a link to the shocking judgement. Vancouver Sun article entitled, Ian Mulgrew:   Children’s ministry sided with sexually abusive father, court finds Ministry decided mother lied about abuse, then seized children and gave dad unsupervised access

Here is what Ray has to say today.
“The children’s ministry removed all the children from the mother with no factual evidence. The children were kept from her during a court case lasting three years and 65 days of hearings. On the 65th day the director withdrew from the case on the grounds that they no longer thought that the case was viable. The mother was bankrupt and in debt. She would have been helpless had it not been that her lawyers continued to represent her when she ran out of money. A lot of parents just have to give up when they can no longer pay a lawyer. There are not many like Doug Christie and Jack Hittrich in the ranks of law. One of the reasons that the social workers and their superiors can pursue cases beyond all reason is because they know that they can outgun most parents with money for lawyers.

In this case the judge ruled against the director and against the father and for the mother.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reasonable Doubt: Coercion and the loss of all Privacy if you're a parent

I paste this here with gratitude to online news source

Laurel Dietz practices family law and criminal defence with Dogwood Law Corporation in Victoria, B.C. She takes issue with aspects of Ministry of Children and Family Development work when it is deserving of criticism. Here is a legal voice affirming what many parents have sought to say before but have sounded like cranks. Perhaps some authorities may pay attention to MCFD operations and recognize the need for holistic changes.

Reasonable Doubt: Coercion and the loss of all privacy if you’re a parent

by LAUREL DIETZ on AUG 16, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Laurel Dietz is one of the writers of Reasonable Doubt.

"I HAVE SPENT the majority of my career practicing criminal law. I was well versed in Charter rights that protect people from state intrusions on people’s privacy. In fact, I have written extensively over the past two years on this topic in this column. 
So nothing prepared me for what I was to encounter when I packed it all in, moved back to Vancouver Island, and opened my own shop offering services in many different areas including family law. 
What I have quickly learned is that in family disputes involving the state, as a parent, you have no expectation of privacy: no expectation of privacy in your body, no expectation of privacy in your home.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


This is the girl.
Ayn is her name.
Isn't she a lovely looking girl?
And she is a sweet girl. Her dad and mom love her dearly. So do her two brothers love her. But she has not lived at her family home for over two years, 787 days as of today.

I've written many posts about her since I learned about her in July 2011.
She was removed from her father's care in June 2011.
You must know the story by now. Ayn has a neural developmental disorder known as autism. Autism affects people in different ways to differing degrees. It is one of the recognized disorders within the autism spectrum (ASDs).

Autism can impair social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and may also be manifested by repetitive or stereotyped behaviour. Simply put, autism affects information processing in the person's brain. That explains why Ayn climbed from a treehouse, over a tall fence that surrounded the back yard, and wandered away to explore. That is a concern of course. I don't minimize that. In fact her father looked frantically for her and when he couldn't locate her, he called the police. A search that even involved a helicopter surveillance located her in a neighbour's backyard three hours later. Ayn was returned to her grateful father. That's where the episode should have concluded.

Police do dialogue with the Ministry of Children and Family Development in situations like this, and then MCFD is compelled to conduct an inquiry. Admittedly I am not privy to Ayn's case file. I have no idea what data about her or her family was already contained within that file at the time of this incident. I cannot tell you why the decision was made to have two social workers come to Ayn's father, Derek, shortly after the incident and present him with a voluntary release form which he was asked to sign, allowing them to remove Ayn from him, temporarily. They suggested that the course of action was in his interest because he appeared overwhelmed with the care of three children, two of whom are autistic.

Derek was enraged. He didn't want to sign a form that allowed someone else to take possession of his child. What kind of request is that? He was responsible. He was the primary caregiver for all three children. His wife Amie, was his ex, yet she was in agreement that he was equipped and committed to the childrens' care and that's where they should be. Yes he was enraged, and the social workers let him know that his refusal would result in their arbitrary removal of the girl. That is precisely what they affected one day, taking her from her school. If the intent was to assess her, Derek's account is that Ayn was immediately controlled with an assortment of drugs that dummed her down. She won't wander then. Some weeks later she was in a foster home on less drugs, and she wandered from there too. Oh really?

Based upon what I have learned over these two years and having met Derek personally and believing that I know Amie from written communications, my opinion about the case has not changed. It was unnecessary to remove this child from her home. Any assistance that MCFD felt Derek needed could have been delivered in a consultative manner. Two years of family life and good memories did not need to be stolen by this bureaucratic irresponsibility.  It's unfortunate that an agency charged with care, doesn't understand how to care.

I am grateful for the family's sake, that a plan is in place for Ayn's return, some time in September, we hope.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Starts Today - Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation Conference

Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation Conference
August 2–4, 2013, Vancouver, British Columbia

We are pleased to announce our third annual E.B.M.S.I. conference, designed for both families falsely accused of child abuse and professionals and paraprofessionals who work with child abuse cases. The faculty includes physicians and attorneys, expert witnesses and advocates, and social service professionals. These experts come ready to work with and learn from each other and the attendees.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

STARTS TOMORROW - Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation Conference

Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation Conference
August 2–4, 2013, Vancouver, British Columbia

We are pleased to announce our third annual E.B.M.S.I. conference, designed for both families falsely accused of child abuse and professionals and paraprofessionals who work with child abuse cases. The faculty includes physicians and attorneys, expert witnesses and advocates, and social service professionals. These experts come ready to work with and learn from each other and the attendees.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Here is a media information sheet prepared by People Assisting Parents Association, or PAPA
It was specifically directed to media in view of a protest being held in Kamloops, B.C. by proponents of change to Child Protection services in B.C. and elsewhere in Canada. The specific subject is a woman named Velvet Martin, a significant voice for change.

Date: Thu, July 25, 2013 10:30 AM

I'm glad you have offered to do an interview covering this event.
The protest is a bit last minute and as such may not get a huge turnout, but regardless, the issues are important, but largely unknown by the general public.

Velvet Martin would be one of the "rock stars" of proponents of improving the state of families that have been targeted by child protection systems. Velvet was able to single handedly get "Samantha’s Law" passed in Alberta the name of her daughter who she was obligated to "sign over" to the Province's child protection system just to receive the care the government refused to provide if she did not do so. Other Provinces and U.S. States continue to contact her to find out how she managed that feat, because they also want similar legislation.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


AYN and AMIE on another occasion
Over the weekend Amie Van Dyk was counting down the hours until her daughter Ayn would be at her home and staying overnight. This sleepover was coming after two years in foster care. Amie wrote, “12 hours, 34 min. 2 years of waiting ends.” A bit later she commented, “She's been to mommy's house many times. She never wants to leave. Tonight she doesn’t have to.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Indulgences! Remember those? They are back, sort of.

The apparent latest decree by Pope Frances may challenge the notion of papal infallibility. A recent papal announcement implied that Indulgence, or time off from purgatory may be granted to Catholics who closely follow his Twitter or other social media accounts during the World Youth Day event in Rio de Janeiro next week.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


AYN pictured a couple of years ago
Some following paragraphs describe the personal sentiments of a mother, Amie Van Dyk, whose child Ayn Van Dyk, has been in the custody and care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development in B.C. since June 16, 2011. However, I cannot help myself when I reflect on this family’s case with an agency that should be dedicated to rather than disruptive of the development of the family. I start writing more than I first intended. There is little question in my own mind, that in this case, the MCFD has misapprehended a child, erred in its case assessment and management and failed conspicuously to act in the best interests of this family. (SEE AYN'S FACEBOOK PAGE)

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Ray Ferris is a well-known contributor to this blog and correspondent in various public forums where he seeks to enlighten people to some of the present shortcomings within the child protection system of our Ministry of Children and Family Development in British Columbia. He worked with MCFD for several decades and is a credible witness and advocate for change. He has recently written to prominent office holders  Marvin Hunt ; Gordon Hogg ; Carole James ; nicholas simons ; Claire Trevena     a title ‘Protection Shocker’ and he has given me permission to print this here. You should read it.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Yesterday was Court day for Derek and Amie as the Ministry of Children and Family Development sent their lawyer with another plan concerning their daughter Ayn. Ayn is the 11 year old autistic girl removed in June 2011 after she wandered from her family back yard and police were called by her responsible dad, and she was found unharmed at a neighbour's yard. Yes it has already been over two years that the Ministry has held this girl from her parents. They will have their clinical reasons. The instinctive and common sense optics suggest this to be a glaring affront to personal, parental and family liberties.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I want to share some further thoughts today. I have communicated with a reliable source as well as reviewing data we have already been given. Ayn’s mother Amie’s most recent comment is featured at the top of this page. It deserves a re-read by us all. She may not be the designated communicator, but what she expresses to us when she writes does convey essentials to this ongoing story and should satisfy some of my and your desire for information. In April/May Amie changed jobs and she also moved to a new apartment. Finding an apartment suitable to both visiting children and stay-at-home pets was difficult. Of course, Amie had to accommodate social workers’ inspection of the apartment to insure it is appropriate for Ayn. Further, Ayn, fearful of the unknown and one who requires consistency, initially did not want to come to the new home, so that required time, but she has made the adjustment.


In June 2011, MCFD’s decision to apprehend Ayn was the result of under-investigation. I believe it was over-reaction rather than over-investigation. Sending out the child protection team was standard procedure following an RCMP involvement in a child-search. However, when social workers arrive unannounced with document in hand, requesting a parent’s signature to a voluntary surrender of a child, without engaging in a sincere discussion of the challenges of parenting an autistic child, and in this specific case, the reasonable explanation for the child’s wandering from home, and possibly as well, asking how the Ministry could actually facilitate Derek’s job of caring for three children, two of whom are autistic, then the MCFD action was flagrantly unreasonable, illogical, unfounded, groundless, senseless and irrational.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Ray Ferris is my friend. He lives in Victoria so our opportunities for personal contact are few. Our interaction and friendship has been conducted largely online and by phone. We found one another when we were advocating for the return of Paul and Zabeth Bayne's children. That process took over four years to realize a satisfactory outcome. Ray is in his early 80's, is active, alert, articulate and altruistic to the core. He had a career in what is now the Ministry of Children and Family Development, precisely that ministry whose conduct of cases he now finds frequently appalling.

Here in this snatch of prose, he is expressing himself about what has transpired over the past several decades in the care of children by government authorized agencies in British Columbia, Canada.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I have not written for a long time concerning Ayn Van Dyk. Derek Hoare, her father, primary caregiver before Ayn was removed by the Ministry of Children in June 2011, is not forthcoming with information. Amie Van Dyk, Ayn's mom does occasionally write on Ayn' Facebook page, a page managed by advocates of her return to her family. I wrote something a while ago to which there was a great deal of response on that page. I was wondering out loud the 1000s of sympathetic supporters cannot know more from the principal players. Here it is with many of the comments of readers.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


APRIL 14, 2013 - We expected that Ayn would have been returned home by now, but she is still in foster care. Her mom enjoys unsupervised visits with Ayn in the mom's house. Here is a five paragraph update from Ayn's mother Amie, concerning her visitation arrangements. It is encouraging as far as visit frequency and quality and even dialogue with the foster parents is concerned.  There continues to be in the minds of observers such as myself, a disappointment associated with the system that rotates caseworkers so frequently that trust and confidence is interrupted. Here follows Amie's comments.