Archive Page 2

14
Feb
10

Unreliable Diagnosis With Devestating Reprocusions

Monday, February 8, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 105 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


SBS – based on a diagnostic triad of symptoms

Shaking an infant is an unquestionably dangerous and reprehensible action. All efforts to reduce the risks to children by caregivers who do not know how to understand the baby’s needs or cope with a baby’s cries and behaviour are to be commended and supported.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is, in essence, a medical diagnosis based on the presence of a diagnostic triad: (1) retinal bleeding, (2) bleeding in the protective layer of the brain, and (3) brain swelling. Bethany had all three. She was a sick baby girl. A well informed doctor when faced with an injured child with no evidence of physical abuse other than the triad of SBS symptoms will consider it his/her duty to be cautious for the sake of both the child and the parents. A respected pediatrician from Vancouver Children’s Hospital diagnosed Bethany as a Shaken Baby.

Presently, reporting regulations require that when retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematomas are discovered in a child, the child is immediately referred to protective services. A mitigating factor must be a believable story from the parent or care giver. If the story cannot be corroborated and if it is merely a story about a household mishap rather than a motor vehicle accident or something traumatically awful, SBS is the fall back assessment. Little or no attention was given to her three month premature birth and the bone fragility and chemical deficiencies consequent to that. Charges will not be laid if the story is supported by a credible witness or two. If that story doesn’t sell, then the SBS diagnosis is applied and the caregiver is put under suspicion and possibly charged. A Shaken Baby has to have a shaker, and who would be the most likely shaker? One or both of the parents. The child will not receive further testing for alternative causes.

With that background data it was reasonable that the Bayne children were taken from the parents in order to protect the children. The Ministry had already discounted the Bayne’s story of an accidental fall of one child on to their baby girl. The accident scenario was reported and recorded in all medical records at various hospitals and clinics over three weeks following the accident. A later CT scan of Bethany’s head confirmed internal bruising precisely at the spot on her head which Zabeth had identified as the area of contact between brother and sister. The attendant physician verified that this bruise was consistent with a contusion at that head location.

That was then. Zabeth and Paul while being subjected to interrogation, arrest, criminal charge, fingerprinting, then dropped charges and a wish of ‘good luck’ from the RCMP, likely looked alarmed and frantic. You don’t put on your best face during a crisis like that. However, in the days, weeks and months that followed, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) was inundated with letters speaking to the parents’ character, integrity and reliability. Would those references be enough to counter the unexplained head trauma?

Paul and Zabeth had themselves never heard of Glutaric Aciduria yet in internal documents they obtained from the Ministry (MCFD), they learned that their daughter, who had been examined by doctors who were in touch with MCFD, may be suffering from Glutaric Aciduria. Interestingly, this is a condition that is often mistaken for shaken baby syndrome, or child abuse. Glutaric aciduria is a genetic disorder with varied symptoms, sometimes including bleeding and swelling of the brain. Note that this was a Ministry report on file yet unprioritized in order to prefer the unsubstantiated conclusion that the baby had been shaken.

• MCFD pursued an unsubstantiated allegation, let’s call it a suspicion that Baynes shook their baby girl.
• SBS is unproven among biomechanic specialists and pathologists as a valid scientific finding.
• The SBS diagnosis of a Child Protection doctor who examined baby Bayne was challenged by ten prominent medical experts who communicated with the Baynes and whose reports were filed with the MCFD and its lawyer.
• The validity of SBS Shaken Baby Syndrome is being questioned in courts internationally.
• Some courts are banning the use of SBS as a prosecutorial cause and are overturning previous convictions.
• MCFD treatment of Paul and Zabeth appears to demonstrate an intention to permanently remove the Bayne children from their birth parents.

The reliability of an SBS diagnosis however, has become progressively more doubtful as research has increased. In the early 2000’s SBS skeptics emerged particularly with regard to SBS’s legitimacy as a diagnosis when used within the court for prosecution purposes and the number of skeptics has created into a reform movement in the United States and in Canada.

How prolific must misdiagnoses be in North America that innocent people and advocates for innocent people feel compelled to create an entire defence program and a website to assist one another to overcome invasive assaults by government children’s’ agencies. While ostensibly created to protect children, in more cases than any of us desire to know, such agencies through ill advised decisions have destroyed entire families and squander children’s’ futures because the right decisions were not made.

Here is a website called Shaken Baby Syndrome Defense. It wouldn’t exist apart from the appalling quantity of parents and caregivers who have been suspected, charged, convicted and sentenced wrongfully for shaking a baby, when in fact the physical symptoms being flagged have been misdiagnosed.

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-105.html

14
Feb
10

Report Prepared With Incomplete History

Sunday, February 7, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 104 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


A Report from Friday’s Court Session February 5, 2010 with Randall Alexander in the witness box.

Randall Alexander – A primary witness for the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Proviso: Lawyer Doug Christie’s questions to discredit the specific testimony of Randall Alexander in the Bayne case and my blog post here should NOT be interpreted as disapproval of efforts to prevent shaken baby and prosecution of criminal abuse of children.

This will have cost MCFD thousands of dollars. It would be different if ‘Jason’ Alexander had flown in from California. Remember ‘George Costanza’ from Seinfeld fame? At least then you could laugh. Instead, on Friday, directly from Florida, ‘Randall’ Alexander took the witness box to provide testimony for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. What he says is not a laughing matter. He is not humorous. It is the stuff of nightmares. For caregivers, falsely accused, his name on the roster of witnesses is always disquieting.

Doug Christie began to cross examine him as soon as possible. Alexander’s credentials were touted by MCFD lawyer Finn Jensen to bolster his credibility as a witness with expertise in determining whether shaken baby abuse had occurred with the Bayne child. His expertise has been accepted before in countless cases and on the basis of his testimony people have been found guilty of a variety of offenses. Many people are in prison today and many children are in foster care on the strength of his testimony. Christie’s dissection of Alexander’s credibility began with reference to a media account of a case in which a father was found guilty of murdering his six month old daughter and he was sentenced to life in prison. An Appeals Court judge found Dr. Alexander’s conduct shocking and prejudicial and his testimony was discarded and the defendant given a reduced sentence.

In a another case in which Alexander gave testimony against the defendant, the father was initially found guilty but the sentence was reversed and the defendant exonerated. Christie referenced yet another case in which the court deemed that Alexander allegedly acted in an inappropriate manner and in a short while on Friday the infallibility of this expert was being diminished. I wish that this citation of questionable testimonies would make more cautious, the hundreds of child protection workers, pediatricians, police agencies and prosecution lawyers, who have confidence in and continue to rely on Alexander’s opinion about one theoretical diagnosis. Alexander is a Director for the National Center for Shaken Baby which occupies a this Utah office complex.
For Alexander, every child exhibiting the triad* of symptoms is a shaken baby. Dr. Alexander has never testified for the defense in a case and his CV indicates that he trains pediatricians, RCMP, judges, prosecutors and social workers to convict shaken baby perpetrators. He does not train defense lawyers. (*see tomorrow’s blog post for the triad details)

With specific reference to the Bayne case, here is what we learned on Friday. Dr. Alexander admitted that he had seen the film work for Bethany’s injuries only the day before he took the stand yet he had written his report on the case a significant amount of time earlier. Dr. Alexander’s report was one page and a few lines in length. Christie ascertained that the cited sources for Alexander’s decision was information from Dr. Colboune at BC Children’s Hospital, a history of the case provided to him by the prosecution and some of the Bayne’s experts’ reports. There was no indication in the witness’report that he had seen or read the hospital reports from Matsqui, Chilliwack and Fraser Canyon Hospitals where Bethany was also examined in the days prior to admission at Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Under Christie’s questioning, Alexander acknowledged that he had not read Bethany’s birth records where the severe prematurity factor should have been considered for a prudent rather than default assessment of cause for the symptoms observed. He also did not read all of the ten reports by other experts who, like him had examined Bethany’s medical data but rendered opinions that pointed to other causes and discounted shaken baby syndrome. He admitted upon questioning that he came to this moment of testimony, not knowing that the accidental fall of one child upon Bethany had been witnessed, or how heavy the falling child was or the speed at which the falling boy impacted the infant girl or the type of floor she was lying on, or what kind of physical reaction Bethany had at the time of the accident or that during the three weeks following the accident she had fits of vomiting, and therefore Christie submitted to court that Alexander had written his report based on incomplete medical history.

Christie’s submission was noteworthy because in spite of the absence of information and preparedness, Alexander was claiming to be an expert who could render an opinion in this case that should help to prove that Bethany was a shaken baby and that Paul and Zabeth are abusers and that they do not deserve to have children in their home.

Christie introduced to court a damaging video as the last exhibit of the day. In this video Alexander is giving testimony in court in another shaken baby case while holding a doll in his hands to demonstrate the effect that shaking a baby would actually have. In this case the neck collapsed and the doll’s head fell off. Noticeably uncomfortable he fumbled with the doll’s head to reattach it to the body. This exhibit displayed the content and delivery of testimony which Alexander customarily provides for the prosecution at the expense of grieving and suffering families.

The payment that MCFD approved for Alexander’s testimony, his flight and his accommodation was covered by all of us in British Columbia. At a great disadvantage are parents like the Baynes who are typically without the resources to bring medical professionals who would like to help. But wait for Tuesday’s report of Monday’s scheduled witness for the Baynes.

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-104.html

14
Feb
10

Thoughts From A Social Worker

Saturday, February 6, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 103 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Tomorrow I will report on the testimony of Dr. Randell Alexander who was under oath on Friday, February 5, 2010 to tell nothing but the whole truth. He was flown here from Florida by Ministry of Children to do what he has done in countless cases, state that the defendants are guilty of Shaking their baby or sometimes even worse, killing their child by violent physical abuse.

Ray Ferris is himself a former social worker and now an outspoken critic of the MCFD. He has not only carefully followed the inequities of the Bayne case but he has spoken to the matter in the media and is doing what he does best to help the Baynes to recover their children. He comments here about the MCFD case against the return of three children to their birth parents, Paul and Zabeth Bayne. He gave me permission to post this piece under his name.

“RAY FERRIS WRITES: When a child receives an injury, the only concern as far as child protection services are concerned is to determine if the injury is deliberate or accidental. There are of course numerous child injuries every year and the vast majority is accidental and those injuries are easy to explain. A doctor cannot determine whether an injury is deliberately or accidentally inflicted from medical evidence alone. This is decided by the combination of medical evidence and studying the profile of the parents. Most abusive injuries occur in families where there is a profile of abuse. A history of injuries, combined with low achievement and lack of life skills. When a family has an excellent social profile, abuse is very unlikely to occur. When a physician claims that the injury is due to shaking, there is an automatic accusation of deliberate injury. This is why a misdiagnosis is so pernicious.

In the Bayne case, it is obvious that an accusation of abusive injury is not supported by their profile. Their profile is of two parents with good life skills and good values. Two parents who managed to give a 25 week premature child exemplary care, winning strong endorsement from their family doctor. Two people with good education and work records, with strong religious and personal values.

This obviously creates a contradiction. With such a profile one must assume that if they state that an injury was accidental, they must be believed. Without overwhelming evidence to the contrary, this case is unjustified.

Of course the ministry director must realize the contradiction, so they sought a solution. They attempt to re-invent the profile by bringing in a string of witnesses who offer nothing but smear, innuendo, hearsay, gossip and opinion. They introduce a “risk assessment” which is nothing but character assassination. They can find not one good thing to say about the family or their relatives. Not only do they run a smear campaign against the Baynes, they do it in such a stupid and clumsy fashion that it is self-defeating and can be discredited in cross-examination. They can only harm their own case by this tactic.

To separate children from their parents for two years requires compelling evidence. What they have is one highly controversial medical opinion and no other valid evidence at all. Character assassination is not valid evidence. There is no compelling evidence.”

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-103.html

14
Feb
10

Dr. Colbourne Testifies

Friday, February 5, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 102 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


MORE ON THE COLBOURNE TESTIMONY

(The first portion was written earlier today and near the bottom you see an urgent addition in yellow font added a little later. The first is positive, the second is a concern)

I return to recap the results of the testimony and cross examination of Dr. Margaret Colbourne. She was in the witness box Wednesday and Thursday. She is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at BC’s Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC, and as a pediatrician with the Child Protection Service Unit of the hospital. She was a witness for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. It was her well intentioned diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome in connection with Bethany Bayne that initiated the October 2007 police action MCFD actions against the Baynes. It was her testimony of this diagnosis that was pivotal to the continued claim by MCFD that the Baynes are unfit parents. On Wednesday, when Judge Crabtree stepped from the bench and deliberated for one hour and returned to rule on the matter of whether Dr. Colbourne was qualified to testify that seven week old Bethany Bayne’s injuries were accidental or non accidental, and whether she was qualified to state categorically that Bethany’s injuries had been sustained by being shaken by an adult, the earth stopped on its axis for a moment. Then it continued to turn while simultaneously the sun shone more brightly and the landscape became clearer. Finn Jensen and Dr. Colbourne were informed that Dr. Colbourne’s testimony concerning the nature of the injuries she observed on the day in October 2007 when she examined Bethany was admissible, but that Dr. Colbourne was not permitted to state her opinions about whether the injuries were non accidental or accidental nor was she permitted to state her belief that Bethany was a shaken baby.

Fundamentally, this is a ruling which speaks to the requisite expertise for distinguishing accidental injuries from injuries inflicted by someone, the latter leading possibly to criminal charges and other consequences such as removal of the children when the injury inducer is a parent. This ruling on this day is specific at the moment to this one case. In time it may serve as the precedent in British Columbia for subsequent cases in which assumptions of cause have been rendered or will be rendered by medical professionals who are unqualified precisely in the disciplines needed for making such critical diagnoses. It is a ruling that speaks to an understanding that certain types of injuries require particular professional credentials. This may become a standard by which to assess the reliability of an expert witness in such cases as shaken baby and other suspected abuse cases that could have differential diagnoses.

In all the incidents of life that are horrific and painful, the understandable instinctive response is to ask, ‘WHY?’ It is possible and even likely that Paul and Zabeth Bayne asked this simply question. But two years and three months have crawled by. During these past months they began to reflect more seriously on the grand scheme of things and the possibility that their agony might one day result in not only redemption for their family but also the restoration of other families where there have been mistaken diagnoses yet no legal recourse because of the strength of condemning testimonies by professionals.

The following is a quick addendum to the post above. It’s important to supporters of the Baynes because it shows they need your support and prayers so much more. If you can be at one of the court days, your presence helps them and makes a point to the Court.

I now have had to hastily add this addendum to my previously more positive note about the testimony of Dr. Margaret Colbourne. Yesterday, Thursday, Finn Jensen cleverly began his examination of Dr. Colbourne this way. Since on Wednesday he had received the Judge’s ruling that he could not have Colbourne speak to the cause as accidental or non accidental, he asked for her opinion on what causes she could rule out for Bethany’s injuries. Despite Doug Christie’s objections she was permitted ultimately to narrow the causes until shaken baby was the only statement of cause left standing. (This, in spite of the previous day’s ruling.)

It was revealed during cross examination that Dr. Colbourne now views this injury as ‘blunt impact’ and shaking. She was reminded that she did not state this in her initial diagnosis. When asked at what time she arrived at this conclusion, she stated in the spring of 2008. Doug Christie suggested that this would have been following her receipt of the experts’ reports that had been supplied by the Baynes – reports which validated the history of events as the Baynes had described. Her response was that she had believed the ‘blunt impact’ component at the beginning but had omitted it in her initial report. (The point is that her exclusive shaken baby diagnosis was damning and did not allow for other causal possibilities.)

Dr. Colbourne disagreed that Zabeth witnessed the accident of Baden falling on Bethany. Colbourne testified that Zabeth told her Baden fell on Bethany but that Zabeth had not seen this happen. (That account of the event contradicts the doctors’ reports that preceded Colborne’s involvement – reports which make reference to a witnessed accidental fall of one child on the other.)

Dr. Colbourne also denied knowing that for three weeks prior to admission at Children’s Hospital, Bethany had severe vomiting. When Colbourne was shown an expert’s article which stated that a head injury accompanied by severe vomiting increases intracranial pressure and can cause supplementary bleeding and eye bleeds, Colbourne disagreed.

When Mr. Christie referenced numerous biomechanical papers to which she had access, articles on shaken baby and the physical impossibility for shaken baby to produce the symptoms under discussion, Dr. Colbourne disagreed. (She admitted that when reading the articles she did not comprehend them since biomechanics is not her specialty.)

The witness also disagreed with the published research papers by noted biomechanic and pathology experts which contend that a shaken infant will bear signs of a neck injury. She said that she could not state with assurance that she had ever observed a neck injury on any of the shaken infants she has diagnosed.

Today, Friday, Dr. Randell Alexander has been flown from Florida to give supporting testimony for Dr. Colbourne’s evidence. (His testimony in numerous other cases has assisted the successful prosecution of parents who are in prison today and their children adopted into new families and some parents have faced the death penalty.) More about him later.

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-102.html

14
Feb
10

Dr. Restricted In Mechanism Of Injury

Thursday, February 4, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 101 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Reporting on February 3, 2010 in Chilliwack Court

YESTERDAY WAS HUGE
On Wednesday, Dr. Margaret Colbourne MD, FRCPC, was on the witness stand giving testimony in support of the Ministry of Children and Family Development as they seek to prevent the Baynes from ever having their children returned to them. Dr. Colbourne is a clinical assistant professor in the UBC Department of Pediatrics, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at BC’s Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC, and a pediatrician with the Child and Family Clinic (Child Protection Service Unit) at BC’s Children’s Hospital. When on October 18, 2007, seven week old baby Bayne was admitted to Children’s Hospital, her injuries were flagged as serious enough to be a potential abuse case. When Dr. Colbourne was called to examine the baby she concluded that this was a shaken infant. Predictably, that diagnosis led to the subsequent arrest of Paul and Zabeth, an RCMP charge of aggravated assault, then an RCMP dismissal of the charges but the MCFD seizure nonetheless of all three of the Bayne children. Of course there were numerous factors that ultimately led to the MCFD grave action of removing the children yet Dr. Colbourne’s initial medical diagnosis was perilous for this family. MCFD has consistently refused to believe that the girl’s injuries were accidental. The Baynes have stated from the start that one child fell on the smaller one and that was the moment from which the infant’s observable medical issues began.

Lawyer Finn Jensen provided Dr. Colbourne’s CV and developed her credentials for the Judge. Her testimony has been considered critical to the MCFD presentation. Instead of allowing Jensen to proceed with her testimony and her medical opinion, quite unexpectedly, at least to MCFD I presume, Doug Christie, legal counsel for the Baynes, cross examined Dr. Colbourne’s qualifications as an expert in this area of testimony. Christie referenced the Goudge Inquiry and the Goldsmith Inquiry and other occasions where legal and medical controversy over shaken baby syndrome has been intense. Under cross examination Dr. Colbourne acknowledged this controversy between medical experts with regard to shaken baby. Mr. Christie submitted that she was not qualified to give an opinion as to the cause of the baby’s injuries because she was not a biomechanic expert which was a prerequisite for estimating the force needed to generate the injuries. Dr. Colbourne’s answers to Mr. Christie’s questions revealed that she had not examined the baby’s brother whom the Baynes said fell on their baby. She had not determined the boy’s head circumference, weight and other details or history from the Baynes that could have further informed her diagnosis. She also admitted that she had not conferred with any biomechanic about the girl’s injuries. Christie then submitted tests for reliability of expert witness testimony and noted that Dr. Colbourne did not meet those standards.

Mr. Jensen’s response to this submission concerning the credibility of her expertise prompted another rebuttal from Mr. Christie, at which time Judge Crabtree adjourned proceedings for almost one hour as he deliberated his decision. When he returned he ruled that Dr. Colbourne could testify to the injuries she observed on the baby but she could not provide an opinion of whether she felt this had been accidental or non-accidental. She would not be allowed to testify that it was her opinion that this was a shaken baby. She is back on the stand today.

Do I have to tell you how significant this ruling is? This is positively huge! This sets a precedent that will affect the rest of this case and other cases to come. More about this at another time.

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-101.html

14
Feb
10

A Faulty Perception

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 100 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


I was in the Chilliwack Court House Tuesday morning, February 2, 2010. When I arrived on the second floor I noticed that Paul and Zabeth and their lawyer Doug Christie were just ahead of me. As we met I was introduced to Mr. Christie whom I have only known through email correspondence. Paul and Zabeth and I gave one another a reunion hug. I remind you that I was the clergyman who officiated at their wedding some years ago.

Another day in the Bayne ordeal began at 9:30 am. As Judge Crabtree entered we all rose as Madame Registrar (scribe) called, “all rise.” Paul and Zabeth sat on the side to the left of the Judge, while MCFD attorney Finn Jensen stood to the right of his honour. Jensen opened the proceedings by calling his first witness for the day. Adrienne Glen, with hand on a Bible took the oath to tell the truth and then identified herself by name and under question stated her relationship to the Bayne case.

Although retired now, she was employed in autumn 2007 as a social worker not for MCFD but for Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. She was a member of the Child Protection Unit of the hospital. During the duration of the time a child at risk spent in the hospital, she consulted with doctors, with the parents, with the MCFD, possibly with RCMP and any other resource people or agencies that were required. She had done her job for 19 years. For 45 minutes Jensen paced her through his series of questions that described her involvement with the baby Bayne girl admitted to the hospital on October 18, 2007. When she learned about the baby’s injuries she notified Dr. Colborne and MCFD to indicate her concern that this child might need protection. She was doing her job as she was expected to do. Following the morning break Doug Christie began his cross examination. He has a deft ability to penetrate inconsistencies and discrepancies in a testimony. Much of the cross examination focused on this witness’ spontaneous hand written and later prepared and printed notes following each contact with the parents and the child during the dates October 19-31, 2007. One of the comments the witness made repeatedly was her perception that Paul and Zabeth had visited their baby in hospital less frequently than 90 percent of other parents in similar situations. This type of testimony was clearly in line with the MCFD purpose to denigrate the character and fitness of the Baynes as parents. This may have been her perception but it was faulty. Christie persistently probed until the elicited responses indicated that Paul and Zabeth did in fact spend many hours with their baby each day providing what nursing reports said was appropriate attention and behaviour such as feeding and holding this child.

We paused for a 90 minute lunch break. When we resumed Lorne Humeny was the Social Worker giving testimony.

More on this tomorrow. But today Wednesday, February 3, 2010, under oath, Dr. Colborne, the medical professional who diagnosed the baby as a shaken baby victim will give testimony and be cross examined by Mr. Christie.

I am so much better aware now of the strain under which Paul and Zabeth live each of their days. While Zabeth is so competent in the information she accesses for Doug even during the testimony, she sits sometimes when her character is maligned and silently wipes her tears and Paul with his large hand on her back comforts her.

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-100.html

14
Feb
10

Did It Need To Come To This

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 99 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Today the Inquiry resumes at the Chilliwack Court House. I will be there this morning. This inquiry is scheduled to continue through Friday and resume next week and extend to the end of February. It is technically an inquiry rather than a trial but the terminology is merely a matter of legal correctness. It is an inquiry to establish before a Judge the fitness or unsuitability of the Baynes as parents of the three children born to them. It is on the other hand an inquiry as to whether the Ministry of Children and Family Development have acted reasonably and justly in their handling, of the case; of the children and of the relationship one should expect the MCFD to develop with the birth parents. The Baynes have contested all along that they did not do violence against their infant child of six weeks, now two years and three months old. But if they had, should it not be our expectation as citizens, that our Ministry of Children and Family Development would do all that it can possibly do to restore and repair and redeem parents, to restore family. Nothing like that has happened. MCFD’s posture toward the Baynes has been adversarial from the get go. The hard copy assessment sheets, the reports, the testimonies now in court reflect this posture.

Did it need to come to this? As taxpayers we should be able to confidently assume that it wouldn’t come to this unless birth parents were verifiably sadistic, immoral and criminal. After all, mercy and mediation are in the vocabulary of the MCFD in theory and on paper. MCFD offers a Mediation Program. This is what MCFD says about their own program.

“The Ministry of Children and Family Development and Ministry of Attorney General partnered in 1997 to establish the Child Protection Mediation Program. Where there is a disagreement between MCFD and parents or other persons concerning the safety and well-being of a child the parties can agree to use mediation to resolve issues, rather than go to court. Common issues include:
• what services the family will receive and participate in as part of a plan of care,
• the length of time the child will be in the ministry’s care,
• the amount and form of access parents or others have with the child,
• the specific terms of a supervision or access order, and
• other matters relating to the care or welfare of the child.”

It further states: “The Ministry of Children and Family Development is committed to a presumption in favour of collaborative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and family group conferencing, as a first choice for child welfare decision making rather than proceedings in Provincial Court.”

“For more information about the Child Protection Mediation Program, visit the Dispute Resolution Office website or the Ministry of Children and Family Development website.

Source:

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2010/02/for-love-and-for-justice-part-99-zabeth.html