Sunday, August 11, 2013
787 DAYS SINCE SHE WAS TAKEN FROM HER FAMILY
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.