Rebecca Millette

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Provincial ministry removes 9-year-old girl with autism from family

Rebecca Millette
Rebecca Millette
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ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia, June 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On June 16, 2011, 9-year-old Ayn Van Dyk was taken from her family into custody by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, allegedly for her own safety, but against the wishes of her family, says her father.

Four days earlier, Ayn had been playing in the backyard of her family’s home in Abbotsford, British Columbia when she went missing.  After frantically looking for her, without success, her father called 911 and a police search commenced.  Ayn was found two hours later playing in a neighbor’s backyard.

“It seemingly was one of those storybook endings,” her dad, Derek Hoare, told LifeSiteNews.com.  “She ran from the police car and threw her arms around my neck.”

Derek Hoare is a single father of three children, two of whom, including Ayn, have been diagnosed with severe autism.  He says he has been the only parental figure in his daughter’s life since birth and the only person able to manage his daughter’s difficulties with autism.  Although Ayn has accrued the knowledge of a 9-year-old, due to her autism she has the naivety of a 3 or 4 year old.

When Child Protection Services (CPS) workers showed up at Hoare’s door on June 16 they told him they had a director’s agreement for taking Ayn into custody.

“They told me either you voluntarily hand her over to us or we take her,” Hoare told LSN. “You can’t claim it’s voluntary when you walk up to someone and say ‘Give this to us or we’re taking it.’ That’s not voluntary.”

“I don’t believe the government has the right to remove children from loving, caring homes,” Hoare said, adding he believes it is his job to protect his daughter and decide how to best keep her safe.  He said he doesn’t understand why the Ministry has taken her away from “the person who loves her best.”

Because Hoare refused to sign his daughter over to CPS, workers took her from her school later the same day.  Afterwards, Hoare learned that Ayn was placed in a “specialized hospital” for evaluation, as she was deemed unsuitable for foster care at the time.

“I fear this means my daughter is being drugged [because] she is very volatile and aggressive when she is outside the home,” said Hoare. 

According to her father, Ayn is “well-behaved” while under his care, “succeeding and excelling” in her family home, but still remains difficult to manage in a school setting or outside his care.  He believes Ayn would be unmanageable in a hospital setting where she would be fearful.

Meanwhile, Hoare has not seen his daughter, nor does he know how she is coping. 

According to Ministry protocol, a presentation hearing took place in court seven days after Ayn’s removal from her family.  At that time, Hoare learned the reasons the court gave for taking his daughter.

Citing situations from home and school that appeared detrimental to Ayn’s safety or that of her siblings, the Ministry indicated, according to Hoare, that while he was a good father to his children, he was simply too overburdened with their care as a single parent.  But Hoare contests the Ministry’s report, saying each situation highlighted either normal occurrences for an autistic child or behavior he has since addressed.

The hearing was adjourned to provide time for Hoare and his lawyer to examine the documents and prepare a defence.  They will not reopen the case until July 12.

LifeSiteNews.com contacted the Ministry for further information, but was informed that the Child, Family and Community Services Act protects specific details of the case.

In response to general inquiries, however, a spokesperson for the Ministry said the top priority is always “the safety and wellbeing of the child.”

“We recognize the stress of caring for a child with special needs places on a family – and we take each case very seriously,” the spokesperson told LSN. “The decision to remove a child is not made lightly. Wherever possible, our preference is always to find a way to support the family in continuing to live together. We would only remove a child if there is concern about the family’s ability to safely care for the child.”

“My number one concern is not getting my daughter back, but how she is doing right now,” said Hoare. “I have no idea where she is or how she is doing. I have not seen her and they have not told me.”

The situation, he said, highlights a concern of great importance to many BC parents with special needs children.

According to Hoare, the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development recently took over the management of files for children with autism in the province.  The Ministry additionally oversees the Child Protection Services, which is charged with the removal of children from their homes when the Ministry deems it necessary.  Many BC parents, said Hoare, are concerned that with the Ministry controlling both departments they do not accurately perceive the situations of families with special needs children.

In his case, Hoare says the Ministry obviously knew the entire situation with his daughter, as a result of overseeing her files, before they took her into custody. Hence, they would have known Ayn’s improvement, from non-vocal at 2 years old, to now, when she has mental abilities proper for her grade level - all skills she learned in her home, according to Hoare. 

“They knew this before they took her, so why did they take her?” asks Hoare.

“It is about Ayn for me here and I am emotionally invested here,” he added. “[But] this is no reason for the government to come and remove a child from the home.”

As a result of waiting lists and court protocol, it could be well over 3 months before Hoare has a chance to argue his case.  However, there is a possibility that she could be returned to her family outside of the judicial process during a “case conference” or meeting with lawyers and concerned parties.  Hoare hopes that in such a meeting, they might come to a decision to bring his daughter home.

For more information, visit the Facebook page dedicated to bringing Ayn home.

Contact information:

Honourable Mary McNeil
PO Box 9057 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2

Phone: 250 387-9699
E-mail: MCF.Minister@gov.bc.ca

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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