Saturday, April 6, 2013



They are not speaking about it.
Both Derek Hoare and Amie Van Dyk, biological parents of Ayn Van Dyk (she carries her mother’s surname), have not spoken about the delay.
Some months ago, pre-Christmas 2012, Derek updated us with glad information that consultation with the Ministry of Children assured him that with a graduated process and whatever protocol mechanisms MCFD deemed necessary, Ayn would be returned in the near future, early in the new year.
One can immediately conclude that the MCFD’s understanding is that Derek is a reliable caregiver, and even though Ayn was taken from his care, he continues to provide daily care for Ayn’s two siblings, brothers, one of whom is also autistic.

Well we are now into the fourth month of 2013. Ayn is not in her family home. Both Derek and Amie do not furnish an explanation of reasons why, or discussions with MCFD, or frustrations or anything related to this delay. Amie does provide occasional comments with photo images about Ayn’s visit to her. She is cautious about making pejorative references to MCFD or offering any comments about Derek’s feelings or involvement with the Ministry. Derek is saying nothing at all.

She regularly visits her mother’s home. That’s a welcome concession. Ayn has not seen her father in person for 21 months. That was his choice and for his own carefully considered but still disputed reasons. 
Most of us assumed, and perhaps Derek himself assumed, that her return would be to him. She was at the time of Ayn’s removal, in his sole custody and care, and that arrangement was by mutual agreement of both father and mother since the couple’s separation and divorce.
There has never been a suggestion by MCFD that he is anything but a responsible father. She was taken, presumably to lighten his load. That was the initial inference by social workers. I could do an entire treatise on that rationale and civil and charter rights.

In any case, the speculation among supporters and friends, not in direct touch with either Derek or Amie, blows like conflicting breezes, as to whether Derek has been cautioned or controlled or threatened not to breach confidentiality; whether Amie and Derek are communicating harmoniously; whether Ayn may be returned to Amie rather than to Derek; whether Derek’s refusal to visit Ayn has jeopardized his chance of having her back; whether Derek’s own present and personal responsibilities are enough or too much; whether he does not have functional electronics to correspond to Facebook or blog entries; whether Derek is discouraged and requiring morale assistance; and more.

Personally, I don’t speculate about any of it. It’s Amie’s and Derek’s business how they handle public exposure or ignore it. I am sure that they appreciate all of our support. To be obliged to furnish regular information can become more of a burden than a benefit.  Not everyone is wired to deal with that erosion of privacy. I have confidence that both Derek and Amie are intelligent and thoughtful and are doing all that they can in consultation with MCFD to gain Ayn’s return to them.

A do continue however, to be curious why MCFD, has suspended this case delivery for so long. It could be just bureaucratic backup. It can be incompetency. It can be failing truly to take a child’s best interests into consideration. It can be ignoring parental rights altogether. Yet the longer that MCFD takes to deliver this child to her parents, the uglier MCFD work becomes. The longer delay continues, the stronger becomes Derek’s case against MCFD; the greater grows his stockpile of legal ammunition.  


1 comment:

  1. Such a thoughtful, well-balanced post, as usual :)

    Two specific statements caught my attention:

    "whether Derek’s refusal to visit Ayn has jeopardized his chance of having her back"

    I have wondered about this since I first read that this was Derek's stance. MCFD typically does use a gradual return plan. However, this case is different from MCFD's typical cases, in that the protection concern isn't blatant, such as a substance misuse issue. I personally know very little about autism, so I take no position on Derek's stance of not visiting Ayn; it could make a lot of sense to an autism 'expert'.

    "It could be just bureaucratic backup. It can be incompetency"

    Bureaucratic backup is a huge issue. It is always an element of a social worker's case management. There just aren't enough workers to eradicate this as an issue. My personal struggle is to ensure that my own bureaucratic backup doesn't slide down the slippery slope to incompetency. Goodness knows there are many days where I DO feel incompetent; this is exactly why I shied away from becoming a child protection worker in my 20's, when my father suggested it.


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