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: [email protected]

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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