Agency Involved in Autism Case No Stranger to Controversy

Ayn Van Dyk

How Much Longer??

In a follow up to our most recent update on Ayn
Van Dyk
, there have been more disturbing details brought to our attention that are worth passing along. Apparently, this is not the first time the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in British Columbia has been involved in a major controversy involving the removal of a child from their home.

Back in October of 2007, Paul and Zabeth Bayne of Surrey, British Columbia (Canada) embarked on a four-year-long nightmare when all three of their children were seized and taken away after authorities suspected Shaken Baby Syndrome in their then-two-month-old daughter. The Bayne’s were adamant that the child’s injuries were sustained when an older sibling tripped and fell directly on top of the little girl, but their claims fell on deaf ears.

Despite unsubstantiated evidence, the children were stripped away from their parents and placed in foster care, shuffled from family-to-family over the years. To make matters worse, during the ordeal, a fourth child was also taken away by Ministry officials only five hours after Zabeth gave birth and was still in the hospital.

The Bayne’s horrifying ordeal finally ended in August of 2011 when they were exonerated and all four children were returned to them. However, the damage had been done, courtesy of the "shoot first" and ask questions later tactics of Ministry officials. You can read the full account of the Bayne story here.

Now, jump to June of 2011, when Derek Hoare briefly lost sight of Ayn, his nine-year-old daughter with autism. She had been playing in the backyard, which was surrounded by a six-foot high fence. Hoare immediately called police when she went missing and a search ensued, finding Ayn safe in a nearby neighbor’s backyard.

As with the Bayne children, Hoare’s daughter was seized by MCFD authorities, who claimed they were simply lightening the load of an overwhelmed single father of three. Ayn was placed in a psychiatric facility and given powerful and dangerous antipsychotic drugs and has been in foster care ever since. Hoare has unsuccessfully fought for his daughter’s return and his next court date is scheduled for the end of 2012. The judicial process will have Ayn’s earliest possible return in February of 2013, assuming there are no more delays. To add insult to injury, MCFD officials, at their discretion, can return Ayn at any time back to her father.

The cases involving Derek Hoare and the Bayne family are strikingly similar, not only for the gross injustices suffered at the hands of government officials, but because they both involve the same MCFD division in British Columbia. As if these cases weren’t enough, there is also the heartbreaking case of Betty-Ann and Allan Burnett — yet another family who’s lives were turned upside down by the MCFD in BC.  You can learn about the Burnett story here.

These cases (and others like them) are so upsetting in nature, someone needs to start asking some tough questions.

Things are seriously wrong when government authorities can arbitrarily take children from their homes without due process, leaving parents at the mercy of a painfully slow judicial system. 

Ironically, the MCFD claims to have the best interest of children at heart, but it’s these types of hair-trigger reactions that cause irreparable harm to to the very children they are purporting to protect. Undoubtedly, there are legitimate instances when children need to be removed from their homes due to abusive or unsafe environments, but at the same time, common sense must be administered.

Much like the Bayne family, Derek and Ayn have passionate advocates and Internet volunteers petitioning on their behalf. Let’s hope history doesn’t
repeat itself and they don’t have to wait another 3 years to be reunited.