In that case I wonder what Hon. Stephanie Cadieux will think about the Ministry of Children and Family Development of which she is the Minister in charge. An individual case is customarily not a priority for a Minister but Ayn’s case will have come to her attention. It’s a unique case. It’s a distasteful case.
It’s true that Ayn’s case did not transpire during Hon. Cadieux’s watch and she came into office late in this girl’s saga but if she has apprised herself at all about the details, she will know how this story is perceived by responsible readers of facts. Ayn was taken for an apparent reason, that Derek, the sole caregiver at the time, could not manage the parental responsibility of this disruptive and unpredictable autistic child. I described it as an apparent reason, because conscientious fact-finding would have assured a diligent investigator that Derek, if not perfect, was an effective and loving parent. He was also caring for two of Ayn’s siblings, older brothers, one of whom is also autistic. That’s right. Ayn is autistic. Sizeable commitment to be sure, but Derek viewed Ayn’s behaviour as entirely predictable and her disruptions when they occurred were manageable through his conversational persuasion. He was the Ayn Whisperer.
She was at home and happy, and she was also curious, understandably so, because she was autistic, and as an autistic child sometimes does, or, any child does, she scaled the backyard fence one afternoon and explored her neighbourhood. She didn’t venture far. The RCMP found her at a nearby neighbour’s yard. Derek felt he had no option but to call for help when he couldn’t locate her. But of course, RCMP must make reports, and the Ms. Cadieux’s Ministry was called in, before it was Ms. Cadieux’s ministry, and the administrator and social workers expected Derek to voluntarily sign a release form to let them take Ayn from him. Even if this appropriation was temporary, he was opposed to it, vehemently to say the least. So MCFD affected a surreptitious seizure of the child while she was at school. This was in June of 2011.
You read that date correctly. Even if Ayn was taken so she could be examined medically, socially and psychologically, even Hon. Cadieux will have to admit that three years is an excessive examination period and I would add, an unwarranted length of time to keep the child from her family and in the care of strangers who become simulated family. It doesn’t matter how positive the foster parenting has been, the conduct of the Ministry in this case is reprehensible, inexcusable. If Hon Stephanie Cadieux wants to make a significant mark on this Ministry during the brief time she holds this portfolio, because Ministers get switched around with frequency, I recommend that she delve with determination into the reasons why there are numerous cases of children being removed and then withheld from responsible parents and grandparents for extended times, and then meet that inquiry with suitable procedures to return children speedily. Perhaps she can expedite an unraveling of the mystery of red tape so that twelve-year-old girls do not miss three years of their lives with those who love them most.
Derek and Amie do not live together. Their marriage dissolved years ago, but with mutual respect Amie supported Derek’s single parenting of all three children. There is much that I do not know, but I am assuming Amie will be thrilled to see her daughter released from government care, even if she is returned to Derek. If the judge, on the recommendation of MCFD, rules that Ayn be returned to Amie, and Amie is able and willing, as I believe she is, that may be a wise step as this young woman enters her teen years. I trust that Derek will acknowledge the wisdom of such a move. Furthermore, I trust as well that both parents will find ways of allowing these children to see each other frequently. The countdown of days has begun again.