Ministry to return Hope couple’s children

Paul and Zabeth Baynes say their four children, three of whom were apprehended by the B.C. Children’s ministry nearly four years ago,are being returned next month.

Paul and Zabeth Baynes say their four children, three of whom were apprehended by the B.C. Children’s ministry nearly four years ago,are being returned next month.

The three children, apprehended by the ministry in September, 2007, are being returned Aug. 25, and a baby apprehended at birth in February, 2011 is being returned Aug. 2.

“We’re ecstatic,” Zabeth Baynes told The Progress in a telephone interview Monday.

Baynes and her husband Paul were living in Hope when their three children were apprehended by the ministry because authorities believed the youngest child had injuries that suggested “shaken-baby” syndrome.

But in March this year, a provincial court judge ruled that shaking was not the cause of the little girl’s brain injuries.

The Baynes maintained the child was injured after an older brother, a toddler at the time, tripped and fell on top of her. When the child was later taken to hospital after a change in feeding habits was noticed, doctors suspected a “shaken-baby” case and reported it to the ministry.

The Baynes’ troubles with the ministry seemed to escalate after they went public with their story, and their long court battle with the ministry for the return of their children began.

In March this year, Judge Thomas Crabtree found that the little girl’s “unexplained injuries” justified the ministry’s concern for the safety of all the children.

But he also ruled that the family is the “preferred environment” for the children, and he gave the family six months to satisfy the ministry’s safety concerns.

“Children are entitled to be protected from abuse and neglect, and this must be the over-riding concern of the court,” Crabtree said, in his reasons for judgment.

Zabeth Baynes told The Progress she believes a “positive” report by a psychologist finally led to the ministry’s decision to return the children.

“The psychologist report turned out positive and determined our children should be returned as there was no support for a (continuing custody order) as there was no risk,” she said.

“It’s surreal,” she said, about the long-awaited return of her children. “I can’t believe it’s over.”

Until the children are officially returned, they will have extended overnight visits with the couple, “to assist in a smooth transition for them,” Zabeth said.

The ministry refused to comment on the Baynes case, for privacy reasons.

But a ministry spokesman said in an email that removal of a child from their parents is “always a last resort.”

“If supports cannot be put in place to make the home safe for the child, we would remove the child with a goal of returning the child to their home as soon as it is safe to do so,” the spokesman said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

Bail denied for alleged Chilliwack firearm thief convicted of similar crime in Alberta

Andrew Scott Charpentier charged with numerous offences after guns seized from Reece Avenue address

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read