A Surrey family that had their three children seized by the government of British Columbia in October of 2007 is still desperately trying to get them back more than 26 months later. Their children were taken by the province after Child Services believed that the parents had shaken their then two-month-old baby girl, Bethany, even though those allegations now seem to be false, and government workers even advised their boys be returned as early as November of 2007.
The children have been in foster care ever since. The two boys who are aged five and four, respectively, and Bethany, now two, were taken by the Ministry of Child and Family Development when Paul and Zabeth Bayne were suspected of shaking their baby girl causing a head injury. The accusation is commonly known as “Shaken Baby Syndrome.” The Bayne’s insisted the injury occurred when their younger son tripped and fell on their daughter, but those pleas fell on deaf ears.
But the case has been fraught with concern about the power that government authorities have to seize children from their parents on slim evidence, and the lengthy time it has taken to restore the children to their parents again. Worse yet, evidence has surfaced which indicates the province had numerous opportunities to return their children, but for some reason did not. (Source: http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/communityofinterest/archive/2009/12/28/a-family-in-need-of-reunification.aspx)
The lawyer representing the children’s ministry had suggested the return of the two older boys to the parents because there was no evidence of harm done on the boys, according to documents obtained by CBC News on Friday.
Government lawyer Finn Jensen believed the case for holding the two boys would not hold up in court, and John Fitzsimmons, a community services manager, was aware of the lawyer’s position, according to a ministry correspondence dated July 14, 2008.
“[A] medical report of November 2007, completed shortly after the two older children came into care, indicates that there was no evidence of harm of injury to the children,” the correspondence said.
“No new evidence has come to light, which would indicate a risk to these children,” it said.
Jensen’s opinion on the case was that “the director should consider a return of the two children to the parents.”
The couple consulted more than a dozen experts in Canada and the U.S. — including pediatricians and pathologists — who all concluded there was no evidence of inflicted injury, abuse and injury from shaking on the girl.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/03/05/bc-child-seizure-protest.html#ixzz0l6KqALBF
The Baynes have posted ten experts reports on their website which confirm that no abuse occured and the history of their son falling on their baby was consistent with the injuries seen. Some of the experts involved include the chief neuroradiologist from Stanford University Dr. Patrick Barnes, child forensic expert Dr. John Plunkett, biomechanics, Dr. Chris Van Ee and Dr. Kenneth Monson. You can view these reports online here: http://apleaforjustice.org/Reports.aspx
In May of 2008 the Baynes attended a mediation in which the Ministry of Child and Family Development returned their two oldest children to them. Unfortunately prior to the mediation Global TV had interviewed them and following mediation aired their story. You can view this interview here: http://paulandzabethbayne.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/global-tv-bayne-family/ In response to this the Ministry canceled their agreement with the Baynes.
The Surrey couple, Paul and Zabeth Bayne, also obtained internal documents from the Ministry of Children and Family Development that suggest their daughter likely suffers glutaric aciduria, a rare disease often mistaken for child abuse.
Glutaric aciduria is a genetic disorder with varied symptoms, sometimes including bleeding and swelling of the brain.
Several doctors told CBC News on Thursday that the disorder has been mistaken for child abuse in other cases, and children suffering from it can die.
The Baynes, who hadn’t heard of the condition until they obtained the ministry documents, said they want their daughter assessed and treated immediately: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/04/02/bc-surrey-parents-children.html
Surrey councillor Marvin Hunt is personally stepping into the fight of a former Hope couple to regain custody of their children seized more than two years ago by the B.C. Children’s Ministry.
And Hunt is not alone among the doctors, social workers and others imploring the ministry to follow its own rules and return the three children.
Hunt said he will join a demonstration Thursday outside Premier Gordon Campbell’s office in support of Paul and Zabeth Baynes.
“I find it beyond belief that these kids are still within the care of the ministry,” Hunt told The Progress last Wednesday.
Hunt said as a politician he always looks for the missing pieces in government policies that create such problems, but in this case “all of the pieces of legislation are in place.”
“But what we have … is an absolute abuse of the system here,” he said. “There is no point in time where the system has lawfully worked through the paper process on behalf of these people.”
Hunt said he does know the remedy, but questioned whether some in the ministry “should be in this type of work.”
Retired social worker Ray Ferris said the ministry is “blatantly breaking” the province’s child welfare legislation, and showing “a complete lack of ethics” in its dealings with the Hope couple: http://apleaforjustice.org/Documents/Secrecy_helps_trample_parents.pdf
“They’ve gone so far, they’ll get egg on their face if they back-track now,” he said.
Dr. Peter Stephens, one of eight doctors prepared to testify on the Baynes’s behalf, said shaken-baby cases are driven by politicians who don’t want to appear “soft” on crime, and by social workers who rely on the opinion of doctors unaware of chronic subdural hematoma.
“People like the Baynes are collateral damage in the war on child abuse,” he told The Progress in a telephone interview from his North Carolina home.
He said the baby girl’s head injuries were not caused by being shaken, but by the lack of oxygen to her brain caused by a chronic subdural hematoma: http://paulandzabethbayne.wordpress.com/category/surrey-councillor-joins-fight-for-bayne-family/
The Baynes have been assisted by an organisation called The Canadian Alliance For Social Justice And Family Values Association:http://www.canadianalliance.org/english/index.php
Their director, Mr. K-John Cheung states that their mandate is the fostering and safe guarding of social rights and justice and the protection of traditional family values as well as preserving parental right.
You can also find their editorial on the family here: http://www.canadianalliance.org/english/081_02_01.php
They have assisted the Baynes in organising peaceful protests outside Premier Gordon Campbell’s office. There have been eight protests in all to date;http://paulandzabethbayne.wordpress.com/category/shaken-baby-protest-fairchild-tv/
Currently the Surrey B.C. couple accused of shaking their baby girl are taking their case to court to try to prove she has a medical disorder, in an attempt regain custody of their three children.
Outside court on Wednesday, Christie, the parents’ lawyer said many parents often lack the resources to fight allegations of abuse.
“[It is] very difficult emotionally for parents who are innocent — and there are some — and that’s what this case is about. All the power it seems to me is on the side of [the] state in these cases,” said Christie.
“Many experts and many doctors make their entire living working for government authorities and the case of Dr. Charles Smith in Ontario has demonstrated how dangerous that can be,” he said, referring to the case of a doctor who was found to have falsely testified in a large number of court cases.
“People were put in jail for accusations of shaken baby syndrome and those people have served time for crimes they did not commit. That’s why this becomes a very serious matter when you make allegations of this kind and base it entirely on opinion evidence,” said Christie.
The Baynes have brought in “Big Gun” Dr. John Plunkett to testify so far at the court hearing. Plunkett told the Voice that he was “there testifying at the request of the Baynes,” however, had nothing to say about the case prior to his testimony in court. http://www.thevalleyvoice.ca/Galleries/Baynes%20Child%20Custody%20Protest%20Feb%208%202010.htm
In an effort to raise the needed funds for their lawyer as well as for the necessary testimony from the experts who must be flown in the Baynes and their supporters had organized a fund-raising concert: For Love and For Justice:http://vimeo.com/8229204
This was also covered in the Gospel Herald:http://www.gospelherald.ca/news/soc_1098.htm
Their case has also drawn the attention of journalist Christina England who wrote an article on this family published in the American Chronicle:http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/134552
The Baynes hearing since that time is currently adjourned. It appears that the courts and the Prosecution for the Social Services have not responded to requests for continuance and resolution of this matter.
Dr. Ron Unruh who officiated the Baynes wedding ceremony and at one time was their pastor has taken up support of the Baynes. He provides continuous updates on this family and is providing spiritual and emotional support for them during this time. He has currently written 166 articles which outline the events of this tragedy in their lives. You can follow his blogs here:http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/
The Baynes believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have sought to submit their lives to His Will and direction. They acknowledge that it has been through His strength and grace that they have stood strong in this battle for their children which whom the Lord has blessed them with. It is their prayer that if it be God’s Will that He will see them through to the return of their dear children. In the interim it is their request that all those in Christ join them in prayer for the safety and well being of their children and the conclusion of this long trial that they are currently walking through.