Derek Hoare has three children and all three lived with him until ……… Well, wait until you hear this.
|Photo by John Van Putten shows Derek with Ayn|
His nine year old daughter Ayn VanDyk, (her mother's surname) was suddenly gone from his backyard at his Mt. Lehman Road home. He had taken numerous precautions for the care of his children. There is a six-foot fence that surrounds his yard. All windows and doors are locked and the doors require a key to exit from the inside. Yet one day recently, Ayn had climbed into her tree house, scaled the wall and disappeared. Derek spent 10 minutes running up and down the street in a rapid search for her and then he called the police who three hours later returned Ayn to her father. She ran to her dad and rapped her arms around him in a tearful embrace. She had been found safe at a pool in the yard of neighbours two house away.
Great! Right? Wrong! Four days later Ministry of Children and Family Development representatives arrived at his home with orders to remove Ayn. Just imagine what that did to this little girl and to this father.
Two of the three children are autistic. He has parented by himself since he and his ex-wife Amie Van Dyk divorced and she permitted him the custody of the children. It must definitely be a challenge. He’s a single father on social assistance. It appears that the consensus opinion of those who know him and the children, is that he is doing a good job. On a Facebook page, his ex, Amie VanDyk wrote, “He has been a loving and dedicated father. He has had to deal with an enormous amount of challenges as a parent, the likes of which most people would not believe ... I will do anything I can to support you to bring our daughter home where she belongs.”
He cannot even have access to see Ayn until a hearing is held to determine access rights. He must wait until July 12th for a hearing which will not consider custody, but only the level of access. Ayn needs twenty-four hour care so she won’t be placed in a foster home but into a psychiatric facility. Can you imagine what this is doing to this young nine year old autistic child? Derek has expressed concern that while in care Ayn will undoubtedly be sedated for her sometimes aggressive behaviour but he has always opposed that treatment. And he envisions nightmarish episodes in which Ayn is held down to be drugged. You can’t blame him. His lawyer is not encouraging, telling Derek that this case resolution could take as much as one year and not to count on a resolution then.
Adrian MacNair broke this story. It was published in Abbotsford News. It has been picked up by news agencies across this country. Once again journalist Adrian MacNair has written a human interest story with a connection to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Once again the MCFD has stepped with audacity into a family causing heartache and uncertainty, and if compassion does not intercept this, it will drag on and exhaust any financial resources a parent may have. Derek himself can tell this story better than anyone. Listen to what he has said as told to Mr. MacNair. “Basically, what they’re saying is I’m a single dad and I have two autistic kids and my other son and it’s too much for me to handle. So, they’re going to take one of my kids away to lighten my load.”
Austism organizations are picking up this story because they already have countless experiences of government insensitivity to the needs of families with autistic children. Derek has said that parents of autistic children do not receive help or understanding from the government. “It’s a medical condition,” he said, adding parents shouldn’t have to lose their children because they’re faced with medical challenges (comment taken from the MacNair piece). MacNair added two important paragraphs which follow here.
“Often, parents of children with autism will have a behaviour consultant who designs specific activity programming for that child, and a behaviour interventionist who goes into the home and carries out the consultant’s plan, said Michelle Hoogland, a program manager of Autism Consulting in Abbotsford. However, these private sector professionals can be unaffordable for low-income parents.”
“The ministry provides families with up to $22,000 per year for each child with ASD under six. It then provides up to $6,000 per year for each child aged six to 18 for autism intervention services and therapies, in addition to programs inside the public education system.”
Check out Ayn Facebook Support Page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/justiceforayn/
News Agencies and sites that ran this story: (You would have to do a search on most of these pages.)
UBC Faculty of Education Page
Health Impact News
FacingAustism in New Brunswick
Liberals Online - Dedicated to the advancement of progressive liberalism. (scroll down look for TAKEN: BC Government Takes Autistic Girl From Caring Dad )
Autism: The Ultimate in Autism Science, Debate and Blogging