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.

"This is a general comment to Derek Hoare, Amie, page administrators and all of Ayn’s supporters. I could have kept this private but I concluded that ultimately it does concern us all.

Initially some readers may immediately call this inconsiderate, insensitive, maybe offensive, yet I am hoping that you will see the sincerity of my exploratory, fact-finding comment.

Every day for two years, many people have engaged in e-conversations about Ayn because we care. We are appreciative that you Amie occasionally provide a fresh news bite about your visits with Ayn and the rewards and challenges. It means a great deal to us because we have genuinely identified with your family dilemma.

Readers want to hear from you Derek. We desire a personal comment, an informational update from your perspective. I am sure that you do not consider this to be unreasonable. I believe you know and you appreciate that the subscribers to this page have remained linked here by a sincere and shared interest in you and your daughter. This moral support was good for you in the early months. Now it needs to be reciprocated a wee bit, even if it’s only to say that our support is not needed any longer.

Your last public comment here was months ago. Your silence may be purposeful but we have no way of knowing that. You may not have easy access to internet or you may lack the hardware to communicate but even that is something that we could know and with which we could and would assist. I recall reading about one page member building and sending you a computer. I know a person who has offered to advise you and provide practical help but has heard no response. Early in the new year you yourself told us Ayn was coming home and this was presented as a promising and official word from the Ministry. There has been no further information.

None of us are owed anything here. We are here voluntarily. I understand that. Any of us can opt out at any time. However, many of us stay, motivated by the sense of outrage we have at injustice, and by a heartfelt desire to see Ayn returned to her family for all of your sakes. We feel that we are useful simply as supporters from a distance. There are conscientious members who maintain blogs and sites associated with Ayn’s campaign. It’s difficult to sustain these without contact with the principal players. If some of you who are Derek’s family members or intimate friends, are sufficiently informed and connected, you may like to supply information to us here. Or, perhaps if Derek for his own reasons prefers to remain silent himself, he may authorize you to provide us with regular status reports.

By name, the page continues to be about Ayn and some readers maintain that’s what all our comments should address. It has become a forum for a much broader conversation, about autism, about child protection, about MCFD, about parental rights and much more, and if that’s what the page administrators approve, that’s fine, but subscribers should then be informed that the primary focus has changed.

Derek and Amie, all of us are anxious for Ayn to be returned to you and to your sons.
We care for her a great deal. We are sympathetic toward each of you and we think of you often, sometimes daily. Looking for the resolution in the best interest of this child, I remain your friend, Ron."
Like ·  · Unfollow Post ·  · June 10 at 10:35am
  • Sean Vine If they're still fighting in court it's probably in Derek and Amie's best interest not to update the page in case the Ministry is keeping an eye on it. If they talk about a current case it can really hurt their chances of getting things resolved quickly.
  • Ron Unruh Understood. "In proceedings ... talk later" would be brief & adequate.
  • Jessica Marshall It seem like Derek has been silenced (by what method we can only guess)... The only thing we need to hear is " Ayn is home"
  • David Crawford What Sean said.
  • Hayley Green Perhaps a simple 'unable to comment'. Maybe there is a gagging order in place now or even for the future? 

    I think just some sort of 'acknowledgement' would be appreciated by many. Not because people are owed anything but because so many care and the longer times goes on obviously people are concerned x
  • Hayley Green By the way I'm in the UK so have no idea how MCFD operate. But if it's anything like our Social Services they put so much fear in you x
  • Matthew Smith Surely everyone's reading too much into it? Derek has just moved. He's busy and may not have internet access. He has an autistic boy (and one other) to raise. There are no court case developments to report. He has never been stopped from speaking out except as regards the content of the mediation sessions. Surely Amie would have told us if there was any other reason for his silence, as she has posted to this group recently and has told us what's going on.
  • Ron Unruh Thanks Matthew for the objective reminder
  • Ron Unruh NEWS ABOUT AMIE AND DEREK AND THEIR PROGRESS: Friends on the page, 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. Amie holds two jobs 6-7 days per week. We can appreciate how exhausting her schedule appears to be. The shifts impact her available time to see Ayn so this requires considerable interaction with the foster home to manage scheduling as well to arrange transportation for Ayn. One of Amie’s shifts ends in the evenings. Ayn must be in bed at a reasonable hour because she attends school Mon-Fri. Amie does her best to see Ayn two times per week and she hopes that the summer school hiatus will afford more flexibility.

    While it is true that Derek has been silent, perhaps the following facts will help us to understand. Derek did not have Internet access for several months and I am uncertain about that status presently. I am told that his commitment is primarily to his boys as it should be. However, it also must be noted that given the awareness that he first wanted, and the sympathy his story garnered, he found that he was receiving several hundred email messages per day and his phone was constantly ringing. He had to make choices, and he opted to focus on the care of his sons as well as the written preparations he has had to make to the Ministry from time to time. In the past month Derek too has moved with the boys to a new home location further in the valley. With that move, Derek and the boys were assigned yet another social worker, the seventh person to be assigned to the case. He is in the process of establishing an intervention program for their autistic son. Derek has hired a BI that seems to be an excellent fit for the family. Importantly, Derek is currently in process of setting up access for visitation with Ayn. There are predictable family health situations, like colds that require attention and time and early in the new year one of the boys also required medical attention for a slipped capital femoral epiphysis, SCFE (sometimes pronounced "skiffy"), a common cause of hip and knee pain in children ages 7 and 11 caused usually during a growth spurt, a common hip disorder in adolescence. This required surgery and hospitalization for a time and now ongoing therapy. Further, as a single dad doing stay-at-home parenting of two sons, one of whom is also autistic, the family finances are lean and that tests the family. 

    A second Case Conference is scheduled for July 4th.
  • Matthew Smith This is interesting as Derek formerly refused visitations with Ayn - it had to be returned or not seeing her. I always wondered (as I said under a previous post) how he could be reunited with Ayn without visitation after this long.

    We were under the impression that Ayn's return had been agreed last November or December, subject to the ABA programme being set up - is that no longer the case?
  • Ron Unruh I don't have the answer to that Matthew. Perhaps someone else can answer
  • Amie van Dyk We signed a consent order in December. It was supposed to be a 3 month return. That order was extended another 3 months. I didn't sign the second and instead opted to set up a second case conference set for July 4th. I have not received word about another court appearance but one is surely due to extend the date again...
  • Matthew Smith Was it extended on Derek's request, or the MCFD's?
  • Amie van Dyk MCFD's. We obviously still want our daughter home.
  • Hayley Green Let's hope for a miracle as in Hellcat Trish case and the judge orders an immediate return x
  • Papa Inbc What a mess.

    Signing a consent order for the extension of interim custody order at the last minute to avoid trial does not shorten the return. All it does is signify an agreement by the parents that forthcoming, AND ALL PAST "SERVICES" were required. 
    All this does is save MCFD a lot of cash, and buys them many more months of foster care of Ayn. It also eliminates any bother of a finding of "... in need of protection" because the parents have said yes to that by signing. So much for the wrongful removal stance this group was created on in the first place. MCFD has outmanoeuvred hapless parents and their lawyers once again.

    The parents should be getting a trial date before heading into the conference and give MCFD a take it or leave it deal of returning before the school year starts, or STOP GOING TO MEDIATION CONFERENCES and DO NOT AGREE TO ANY MORE INTERIM CUSTODY ORDERS!!! (Notice I used three exclamation marks?) If an agreement was to have been signed, it should have been a supervision order with an immediate return.

    MCFD lied. Really, is anyone surprised? Who here thinks another year will NOT pass if this US independence day mediation fails? (Who picked THAT date, by the way?)

    The one good thing is Ayn has unsupervised access right now, so any trial time can be very short. An immediate return order by the judge is far more likely. Also, because of the belated agreement signing, the clock has now started ticking. I believe in Ayn's case, the age she was at the time of her abduction, a 12-month maximum total of such extensions should apply. As the last month expires, I would think a formal trial could be dispensed with and a summary application would return Ayn.
    June 11 at 4:06pm via mobile · Like · 2
  • Ron Unruh The Ayn case is more complex than I or most of the readers have appreciated. Papa Inbc you have hit the bullseye with your last comment. All that you have said here is not alarmist but the sad reality of dealing with this MCFD entity, cloaked in legal precedent and protection and dealing with parents who enter discussions without legal representation and most often unsure of what it is they are signing. I know you are very familiar with this perilous interaction between Ministry and desperate parents. All parents, beware and be wise.
  • Mea Jones I would be getting a trial data asap. MCFD can never be trusted.
  • Ron Unruh I am pasting here, a combined comment from Ray Ferris which germaine to this conversation but was placed in a another string. For any of you who don't know Ray Ferris, and think he is puffing blue smoke with a sweet aroma, Ray was for decades employed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development but in his case he demonstrated hands-on help to children and parents, and later he became not merely disappointed in MCFD's declining effectiveness but he has become a scathing critic and a genuine help to people struggling with MCFD mistakes, and he operates from a knowledge of the Act and the bureaucracy that employs it.
    Ray Ferris writes: Oh dear Ron; So we have a tiny glimmer of hope and we are all supposed to be grateful and cheer up are we? Let us not forget the real travesties of this case. This family continues to suffer unwarranted abuse from the ministry. Poor Ayn has been in care for two years without a shred of evidence having been presented to court under due process. The judge has tolerated every guideline in the Family and Child Service Act to be shattered and has sat on his hands while the emotional damage to a young child continues.
    I am sorry to say that in my opinion Derek has not helped to move things forward by his determination to do things his way. Against advice, he has taken actions which have left all power and control in the hands of the director and he must now take any crumbs that the officials choose to throw him. The same for the mother. It is high time this case gets into court in a contested hearing, because it is the only way that anything has any chance of change. You can write on the blog until you are blue in the face, but all the power will still remain in the hands of ignorant bureaucrats.
  • Jean Nicol Has anyone considered the possibility that Derek is handling everything the way he has planned is the best way for his family and that he has chosen to do this privately?
  • Hellcat Trish I respect Derek Hoare & Amie van Dyk's choices. It's obvious they're doing wha they feel best for Ayn. I've been pretty vocal in saying that I envy the strength Derek had in choosing not to "tease" and disappoint Ayn with supervised access... However, MCFD is responsible for this nightmare and they KNOW what they are doing is unwarranted and incredibly damaging- so I would never have trusted them to set things right. In my own case, I never would have settled outside of court because I knew our CAS (Ont MCFD) had nothing against us as any sort of evidence that my children were harmed/not cared for/or anything that would imply that their home was anything less than wonderful. I did worry that the judge may be corrupt or ignorant, but it was a chance I had to take. I hope whatever Derek has agreed to leaves room for him to decide to take them back to court, and that given the time lost to this point, things will move along quickly. Of course MCFD isn't going to admit that they've not only screwed up, but had no evidence to warrant their decision in the first place and so should not have proceeded. I think they would find a judge would struggle to look for the MCFD's logic and most likely order an immediate return- as was the case with my family. I at least had a little drama CAS could beef up and work with, but thankfully it was not enough. Derek & Amie have, as far as we know, nothing the MCFD could possibly use against them at all, so why not go to court, have things set straight, and make an example of the MCFD for future families under attack? (Might be a bit repetitive and rambling but I just woke up.)
  • Papa Inbc The chief difference between your case Trish, with your smart, caring hard working lawyer, is Derek and Amie each have crappy legal aid lawyers. I watched them at the presentation hearing, it was clear neither of them could argue their way out of a paper bag, let alone conduct a trial. 

    The judge at the presentation hearing wasn't doing the family any favours either, but that is usually the case in presentation hearings anyways.

    As happened with your case, the social workers started the long drawn out graduated return, so Ayn has unsupervised visitation, and I believe overnights now as well.

    The current interim 3 month custody agreement as I understand it has run out and has not been renewed by agreement or by order of the court, so in theory, MCFD now possesses Ayn illegally. Their lawyers have done nothing to address this. The 18-month clock for Ayn started last December, (see CFCSA 6(7b) ), so MCFD could theoretically drag matters on for another full year.

    So if a supervision order is not signed at the mediation July 4th, the current order of interim custody HAS to be renewed or MCFD will be in illegal possession of Ayn and she could theoretically be ordered home at a quick one-day summary hearing, exactly as was done in Trish's case.
    6  (1) A director may make a written agreement with a parent who has custody of...See More
    Saturday at 8:49am via mobile · Like · 2
  • Renee Boisvert I have to say.... I would not want to be in a position of deciding whether to sign anything... ANYthing! It all seems to me to be a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation. There is supposedly a plan in place now, moving towards return. If they want a signature, there is a risk in refusing to sign... perhaps "they" will not continue with the plan. And yet, what are the implications in signing a document?!??!?! LAWYER please! 

    2 years ago, if a SW showed up at my door, I would let him or her in, confident in my level of care for my children. I would feel highly anxious, absolutely, and devastated that someone had made a report... but confident in my parenting choices. I do not neglect or abuse my children. Here is a list of professionals, friends, and family... talk to anyone... talk to everyone. If my children had been removed, I would be a mess! And then I would get it together and do what I needed to prepare for court within 7 days. 7 long days until the presentation hearing when everything would be put right! Right? 

    Now I have WAY different perspectives and information... not just this case... but several others I read about here, and elsewhere. 

    So what IS the best thing for a parent to do? 

    I think if there are actual care "issues" that have surfaced, a parent needs to do what they need to do. Cooperate, get a lawyer, take the courses, sign the papers... 

    What about the homes where there is no neglect or abuse? What are parental "best practices" if CPS shows up? Is there "best practices" for keeping your child in your home or getting your child back promptly? What are the "least worst practices"?
  • Michelle Morgan-Coole Every case is different of course but I would say be very, very wary of signing a consent order stating that the children are in need of protection. That's where they get a lot of families - well, the parents AGREED the kids needed to be taken, for heaven's sake. 

    I learned that one the heard way when my friend's kids were taken - having been a foster parent for 25 years she knew how it worked and refused to consent while her lawyer, her family and I did our best to persuade her to change her mind. Why? Because the lawyer insisted she would get the kids back quicker that way. Yeah ... right. I am so glad my friend had the confidence to stick to her guns despite the pressure.

    I saw one court case a while back, an appeal to the NS Court of Appeal, where the court essentially said - well, the parents consented to a finding that children were in need of protection and they haven't shown that anything has changed since then so ... BAMM. Dead in the water.

    In many ways, exactly as someone said above, dammed if you do and dammed if you don't...
  • Renee Boisvert My understanding is.... that by not signing that consent order at the presentation hearing... they couldn't complete the presentation hearing. SO the presentation hearing was rescheduled for I-don't-recall what date late in the summer I believe. Why on earth would things get delayed so significantly when a parent is saying. "ummm ... no... it is NOT ok for you to look after my child for me! I have been doing a good job of that ... and I plan to continue to do so!"

    Am I misunderstanding what a consent order is, or how it works?
  • Renee Boisvert Oooohhh.... here is a checklist for lawyers of parents involved in child protection matters... very interesting!
  • Amie van Dyk We signed under section 60 which does not admit a need for protection. However, our trial dates were cancelled at that point.
  • Mea Jones Record everything. It is your legal right. Don't communicate unless it is recorded, either on paper or on tape.
  • Michelle Morgan-Coole Renee, I suppose it could be different in BC but ... no, that makes no sense to me. Much, much too late for me to check your legislation but no, I can't see it. Now if someone were to ask me if MCFD would be above telling a parent that to get what they wanted .... yeah, that I would believe.
  • Papa Inbc There never was "protection" allegations with either parent, otherwise the two boys would have been removed as well.

    The social workers arrived with an agreement for voluntary service, presumably under section 6, that was refused by Dad. The evil MCFD
    's plan B was to silently declare a finding of s13 concerns, then the bastards jumped straight to s.30 and fill out Form 1 to justify an emergency removal.

    ( )

    Generally, the premise for an agreement and avoiding (or forgoing a trial) is that a change of circumstances has occurred. Examples include new information (a PCA perhaps, or a bad "witness" is exposed as lying), completion of remedial courses, or acceptance of MCFD originating involvement. The latter applies in this case. 

    Now, it is as if the original paper presented for dad to sign Ayn into care is now being signed nearly two years after the fact. It is pointless to even include as a disclaimer that signing is not an admission to the allegations (allegations, many will recall exist within MCFD's ridiculous collection of hearsay in a big thick affidavit), because the allegations live on forever. These allegations can be recycled at any time because they have NOT YET been dealt with. Signing any sort agreement does not make accusations go away. Only a court determination can examine and deem the results of the social workers poor investigative efforts were in fact, bogus reasons to remove, and that they may not be retried again.

    All that happens is, that the "Child welfare" aspect swaps out "protecting" the child from the parents harmful care, the current foster care becomes as an agreed retroactive service (this includes foster care / aka respite care, pills, programs etc.). The child protection aspect is adjourned, lying in wait until a school employee calls and says, "hey, remember all that stuff I phoned into before Ayn was removed? Well, the same stuff is going on, could you come and remove her again please"

    Who here thinks that will never, ever happen once Ayn's is finally returned home?

    The way the CFCSA is written is exceptionally insidious, giving complete advantage and protection to social workers, allowing government to stomp on constitutional rights of the family as a whole. Parents stand little chance if they sign anything.
  • Michelle Morgan-Coole After the judge ordered my friend's children returned, with a finding that they were not in need of protection, my friend was asked to meet with the social workers, where she was told that they didn't care what the judge said, as far as they were concerned, there were protection issues and they would continue to watch her. The next time one of her children was in the hospital, she noticed that every time she closed the door so she could have some privacy to change a diaper, a nurse would immediately appear to ask what was wrong. Any doubts about what was written in that hospital file?
  • Mea Jones Hospitals & schools. Very dangerous places for babies & children that MCFD / CAS / CPS have targeted. And every year, more get targeted. Soon it will be like Scotland plans - a social worker for every child. Not long after that, I'm sure, all babies will automatically be state property. 

    This is that you get when you ask the government to protect you.
    6 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

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