Friday, November 19, 2010

IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE US / Part 372 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Child Protection workers and administrators would like us all to understand what an almost impossible task they have. Well, impossible in the sense of making all citizens happy with the results of their work. They will tell us that a perfect balance is unachievable between not protecting children from abusive parents and not making unfounded accusations against innocent parents. Stated differently and more positively, it is difficult both to protect children and to correctly assess risk by parents. To which I and others will quickly declare, “Then become more proficient at the latter in a hurry.” What kind of nonsense is that anyway. CPS or MCFD should not even have the authority to do the one if they do not possess the skills to do the other upon which the first must be based. How stupid is this logic? “We can't always be right about whether there is a legitimate risk with these parents but we must protect the children at any cost so we are removing them anyway.” It is irresponsible for a government to condone and to empower an agency to be this frivolous with the lives of its citizens and with their human rights. We are not Hasbro, Nintendo or Mattel games to be played.

'Sunset Under Clouds' panorama of Vancouver BC by Thom Quine
When they are deciding whether a child should be removed from parental care, child protection workers and court judges must have a panoramic scope of inquiry. They must be able to see retrospectively as well as prospectively and I am concerned that we are not witnessing this kind of comprehensive welfare expertise. As in the case of the Baynes, the Ministry of Children would determine the future care of children based upon an uncertain historical understanding of whether the parents are truly guilty of harming one of their children or whether their conduct with their children  for these past three years  proves that they could never harm any of their children in the future. The thinking seems to be that the truth doesn't really matter when the safest possible social action is to remove the children from the parents about whom the Ministry is apprehensive.

There has been what I suppose is a predictable tendency that has occurred over several decades. In the past it may have been that many cases of parental abuse or neglect were overlooked or ignored or possibly unrecognized. Society and children were poorer for this unfortunate neglect. In recent years substantial modifications have occurred in social attitudes, knowledge, legislation, and policies regarding child abuse and neglect. Then health-care professionals, police, the courts and child welfare professionals began better to understand and to respond to child abuse and neglect. With increased numbers of intakes, almost inevitably it became known that misdiagnoses of parental abuse or neglect had occurred. There were relatively few such cases perhaps but nonetheless, each unfounded allegation had profound adverse effects on parents and children. It is simply not acceptable to conclude, well, that can't be helped. It's the cost of being safe.

Quite possibly a case like the Bayne case will prompt yet another independent inquiry into Child Protection in British Columbia and yield recommendations which can protect children while also perfecting trustworthy risk assessments and which can develop a new paradigm of child protection and workers who bump up the compassion quotient and reduce the antagonism.


  1. Nicely put.

    We need to protect those who protect children, that is - families. Instead of working to undermine the authority and value of families (and this is done via everything from the media to public education), we need to protect and enshrine parental rights.

  2. There is infant child removal case added just the other day at, where an infant ate a bagel with a poppy sead in it, and the hospital identified it as cocaine, notified child protective services in the U.S. The infant was removed for "5 excruciating days."

    Included at the bottom of the page is a 21-page jury lawsuit statement of complaint. This could be a good template for others considering a lawsuit.

    Part of this page includes a news article discussing the particulars of the case, and makes a number of astute observations with respect to child removals that are very relevant to the Baynes case.

    It would be interesting to know if there is drug testing of newborns in BC Hospitals conducted without parent's knowledge. Diseases like AIDS is certainly tested automatically in newborns and mothers, it stands to reason other tests for illicite drugs would be conducted as well.

    An excerpt from the article, I added emphasis on the last sentence:

    "To prevent future incidents, Jameson Hospital needs to start treating its mothers-to-be like patients, not prospective criminals. And it can start by raising its "positive" drug-testing threshold to the level used for federal workers. But it shouldn't stop there. Unless there are signs of abuse or actual evidence a child is in danger of abuse, hospital staff should not report parents to child services over just one potentially faulty test result, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE HOSPITAL KNOWS THAT WILL RESULT IN THE STATE TAKING THE CHILD AWAY WITHOUT FURTHER INVESTIGATION."

    As we know in the Baynes case, no further investigation was conducted. MCFD has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in their efforts to keep all three of these children, and potentially a fourth, seeking to terminate all parental rights.

    There is a shocking similarity in this drug case in that a single phone call from a hospital to child protection authorities resulted in the removal of children.

    There are some assumptions in today's bloc that assumes MCFD incompetance is responsible.

    Regardless of staff qualifications and efforts, it should be clear they did not use any of those qualifications to conduct any sort of risk assessment (done months after the removal), as mere hours passed between the phone call from the hospital and the subsequent removal of not one, but three children.

    There is no difference between child removals and traffic tickets that are issued because of arbitrary thresholds of violation. Breathe 0.05 into a breathalyzer, you and your car are toast. Go 90km in a 50km speed zone and your car is impounded immediately. Walk into a hospital with a bruised or sick child, 25% of emergency visits are classified as "abuse." Eat several poppyseed bagels..... you get the picture.

    Hospitals, and child protection, like police roadblocks wait like vultures to skim off violators and instantly enact retribution without due process. They call this deterrent.

    It really is pointless to discuss social worker skill levels, committment to public service, compassion, protection from child abuse and applying appropriate services because their analytical power has been stripped away and contracted out to third parties in order to introduce more cost and delay into the system.

    It is far simpler to discuss lazy social workers stripped of their training and ethics who now simply lie in wait for that 'threshold' of abuse to be crossed, that 'probability, that 'likliehood' to occur, then they swoop in and take children. This is not due to precaution, it is instant retribution and punishment.

    Precaution is offering servies first, observing the parents with their children first, talking with the parents first, using a supervision order first, showing up with a warrant, not waiting like cowards until the child is in a school, hospital, community center, daycare or daycamp or at a babysitter.

  3. Yes, a person cannot please the ministry. I did all the assessments they wanted and went to great personal expense to please them. Still, they want more. I am supposed to now agree to all this stuff because they are being 'nice' and not making me go to court. I told my advocate that I do not think I can go much longer to all these appointments required. She seemed very nervous and said they will then slap another supervision order on me. It is too much. It is too stupid too. Can't they focus on real situations of abuse?

  4. Anon 11.55 PM yesterday is very well informed about the Bayne case and has no doubt read the final response by Doug Christie, which covers many of the points made by him/her. One correction, the transcript was 237 pages. Of course Jensen omitted tons of stuff in favour of the Baynes. He is not obliged to bring out points in their favour--not if he wants repeat business. He quibbled ad nauseam about a whole lot of stuff. You ask why. It could be a simple matter of milking the cash cow while it is still mooing at the barn door. I agree, he could well be laying little traps for the judge to fall into. If the judge fails to address every little item, could he be open to appeal? I doubt it, because he would have to fail to address something of substance. In addition, I think that McNeill would have great difficulty in getting permission to spend the funds. The legal services are already fed up with the cost of the case and the ministry would only reap bad publicity.
    In response to one comment about Turpel-Lafonde. Her office has been monitoring this case closely, but she is not legally allowed to intrude while the matter is before court.She may well comment after final judgement.

  5. Turpel-Lafond doesn't really seem to be interested in cases where MCFD violates parental rights. She seems to focus on the sensational cases of parental abuse, or where parental abuse can be made into the issue (e.g. this most recent case where the child was alone with the dead, and allegedly alcholic, etc., mother, for a number of days).

    Turpel-Lafond also has focused on the issue of making sure the relatives who are relatives in care candidates get proper criminal record checks, as if this is the be-all and end-all in terms of ensuring that children don't get abused in foster care. Putting the focus here seems to be another way of suggesting that family is not to be trusted. MCFD probably doesn't want children placed with relatives and will probably, or has probably, placed children with relatives that are not able to properly care for children, knowing that there will be problems which will then cause the program to be subject to criticism (which it was).

    Turpel-Lafond just seems to fall into MCFD's traps, either that or she's part of the scam. Whatever the case, I don't really see her input as valuable. This latest case in the media suggests that she's only going to put the focus on parents as abusers/neglectful, and the need -for more rigourous reporting/follow-up of child protection complaints. I hope I'm wrong.

  6. As far as child apprehensions as a result of children's hospitals go, it seems that a hospital, and especially a children's hospital, is one of the most dangerous places for a family / newborn. I would encourage mothers to look into home birthing, if they are healthy and have no anticipation of any problems. If they do go to a hospital, make sure they are aware of the dangers, and have some plan to deal with corrupt child protection thugs.

  7. This latest news item, unfortunately, proves the point that Turpel-Lafond's protests will work against parental rights, painting parents - once again - as abusers:

    "Government must put child welfare first
    Ministry's family-centred approach puts kids at risk from abusive parents"
    By Eric Jones, Special to Times Colonist

    Read more:

  8. Yes, I feel something fishy could be going on with Turpel-Lafonde appearing on camera, indignant at this or that action of a particular employee or division. It seems too much like a good cop bad cop scenario.

    It should only take few days to examine the files, interview the extended family members and MCFD staff and return a preliminary report quickly, then later a more comprehensive examination.

    Why the necessity and grandiose step of issuing a 'subpeona' of MCFD staff? For what, another 100 page report, only because a citizen phoned the newspaper? This implies that without a subpeona, RCY could not talk to these people and expect answers.

    Such formality is silly, the existance of RCY implies they should have the same access to computer systems that all social workers in the Province do so they can check filed documents immediately.

    A simple walk-in visit to see the rest of a paper file should be all that is required. RCY reps should be able, at will, to talk to the same collaterals and witnesses and family members MCFD staff would. What am I missing here?

    By talking to the family and collateral, and comparing this information to MCFD's account of matters would reveal if they are deliberately falsifying information, did or did not offer and supply services. If services were offered, they could examine the service providers and determine the effectiveness of those services. Why, for example, were the brothers not suitable to care for the child when they offered? Even part time?

    If individuals are found to have failed in their duties, name them and fire them. Don't tell us that this one isolated incident is a systemic issue that is caused by insufficient funding and resources, or social workers were following this or that flavour of the month social administration and rest the blame on management.

    One devises measurement strategies to see how common the problem is and report that to the public - within 30-60 days, not 6-months or a year when the public has long forgotten about the matter.

    My kids received no help from RCY. It was clear the call center was not interested in hearing from a parent who had their children removed, as "the children had to make the phone call."

    When MCFD encouraged my kids to call, it was after my children were essentially told what to say. Nothing was done regardless.

    The target removal range of children cannot make phone calls to RCY, they have to die first to get such attention.

    This nonsense of a social worker writing for the newspaper, where he appears to be absolving the workers in advance. The writer implies the workers were following this or that flavour of the month's corporate directive.

    The end conclusion by the writer, "children, not families first" leads us to believe the writer advocates removal as a precaution as the only solution in which to impose services.

  9. RCY appears to be a placebo that is, rather than doing nothing, making things even sicker.

    Every time Turpel-Lafond or a judge or a reporter writes or says something in righteous indigation regarding MCFD, it always seems to work in MCFD's favour. It only leads the general and largely ignorant public to believe exactly what MCFD wants them to believe, that being that parents are always one purple cry away from being abusers, and if only MCFD had more "resources" (money, power, social workers). The quality of reporting regarding MCFD makes me think that these reporters are either not very bright at all, or on the MCFD payroll. Maybe they are all like the president of BC Children's Hospital - that is, former social workers. I know that MCFD has in at least one case hired a former editor (from Nanaimo I believe) as their PR person, so the reverse could also be true (publications hiring social workers to write about MCFD).

  10. I lost my baby at Victoria GEneral Hospital. I trusted them to be better than CHildren's, but they are actually worse. Victoria has an inside reputation for being the worst place for child apprehension in B.C. There is a native Indian complex where a social worker came and threatened to take a child simply because he was not wearing his bike helmet. THe CPS culture and the bossy attitude is very bad in Victoria. I learned from hard experience, so I am just letting anyone who reads this know.

  11. Anon 4:06 PM
    Thanks for the info about Victoria and your assessment of the child apprehension climate there. Did you ever recover custody of your baby?

    Does anyone else in or from Victoria share Anon's view?

  12. my 2 girls were apprehended based on the falsifying of drug test results by my social worker or someone else who is obviously paid by mcfd to do so. funny how I was not using and yet, every single result came back positive for fentanyl and norfentanyl...
    I am hoping and praying for the truth to come out at trial in October...has anyone else had the same experience? I am literally dying more every day that my girls are not with me. and the truth is they were stolen from me for NO REASON. which makes this even harder. I am a good mother and everyone, even the sw says I am. so then I ask, why are you doing this to us when you KNOW I would NEVER abuse or neglect my girls? while you are wasting resources and foster care placement on my girls there are other kids out there in ACTUAL need who are suffering. go save them and leave us be. please!

    1. Well Anonymous Sept 12, 2017 --- I hope you have returned to read. Since you wrote your comment on a blog piece done in 2010, I think you may not find this again, so what I am going to do, is to put your comment on a post for today, Sept 13, 2017 to see if someone responds.


I encourage your comments using this filter.
1. Write politely with a sincere statement, valid question, justifiable comment.
2. Engage with the blog post or a previous comment whether you agree or disagree.
3. Avoid hate, profanity, name calling, character attack, slander and threats, particularly when using specific names.
4. Do not advertise