My friend and fellow advocate for justice and evidence based child protection, Ray Ferris, has written his own follow up comments to my previous blog post, 'MCF DID IT AGAIN - DIRTY POOL' that spoke of the saddening postponement of a court hearing that should return this young child, Ayn Van Dyk to her family. Listen to him.
This is of course atrocious. We have a child taken for three years, with only minimal evidence. If this evidence were presented and cross-examined properly, there is no way any sane judge could make more than the most minimal protection finding on it. Not only that, the risk was transitory and long since past. The most the judge should have done is to seek reassurance that the height of the fence should be raised.
So who is to blame for keeping this little girl away from her loved ones for so long? Yes the director is the chief villain because he broke every guideline and rule of due process in the law.
He is obviously ignorant of the emotional damage to this child, or else he chooses to ignore it. He could not have done all this harm without lots of help from other people. Part of it is the fractured family court system, but surely by now there is one judge who is seized of the case? How could he let this travesty go on and on without getting really concerned and insisting on due process? Three years with no evidence under due process? What sort of a judge would allow that sort of abuse? Did Derek have a lawyer or did mum have a lawyer? Nobody knows because neither one of them seems to be telling anybody anything. Without information, how can anyone help? If they did have a lawyer, then the lawyer was derelict in the matter of duty and must take a lot of the blame for incompetent defence.
Derek too must take some of the responsibility. Did he do his best to get a lawyer and tell him to press for a hearing? He chose not to see his daughter at first for good reasons. He thought it would be too upsetting for Ayn to see him and then watch him walk off. She would feel abandoned. This was a reasonable position at the time and within his rights as a parent. However, when he made that decision he did not know how long this case would drag out. As the months went by he should have reconsidered that time changes things and maybe it would be best to press for visits, especially unsupervised visits. I think he may have been too rigid on this. Now there is mediation going on instead of a demand for accountability. If the director can get away with everything by ignoring the role of the court and Derek allows it, what is the point of having a court at all?Now my understanding is that in recent months, unsupervised as well as overnight visitation was not only granted to Ayn's mother, but that also, Derek was having visits with Ayn. Those visits went well. This should have been a no brainer of a court hearing on April 1st. She should have been returned. It's been three long years of this idiocy. I will seek to get clarification of whether Derek also had visitation rights.