My name is Derek I am a single father of three wonderful young children, aged 9, 10 and 11; my youngest two have both been diagnosed with severe autism. Though a constant and challenging struggle, I have done my best to protect and nurture them, as I love them so much and have dedicated my life to their achievement of happiness. My youngest child is a bright and beautiful little spitfire named Ayn. She has and is blossoming so well here at home and has come so far to overcome her obvious disability, she does however continue to struggle and outburst when in other environments, particularly at school. Ayn is naive and unaware of the dangers that exist in the world at large, so when on Sunday June 12th she escaped the backyard we were very worried for her safety. With each passing moment the likelihood that something terrible had happened increased, as Ayn should stand out from other children easily and should have been quickly spotted. Fortunately Ayn was discovered two doors down playing in a neighbours backyard, the neighbour had taken an afternoon nap which provided Ayn with the ability to play undisturbed. The challenges I have faced in caring for my daughter have been encompassing and life altering, these challenges are very dynamic and new challenges arise as fast as the old one depart. Now with her discovery of the neighbours nearby trampoline and pool, she will undoubtedly seek to return there, vigilance will be required to face this new found challenge, but it is one which I must now face just as I have with each prior challenge and as i would have to with our future challenges as well. As it stands today I may never get that opportunity. On the morning of June 16th two workers from CPS arrived at my home to request that I "voluntarily" give Ayn over to them (she was at school at the time), if I refused they would simply coercively remove her. There should be no illusions here when someone approaches you and says "give me your child or i'm taking her" you should not pretend that any such choice would be done "voluntarily". Within hours of her removal Ayn had hospitalized and drugged with powerful neuroleptics, one of which at double the maximum daily dose. Her whereabouts has been concealed from me, due to me refusing to sign the voluntary agreement. And I will not be given the opportunity to argue before an impartial court as per why this was a wrongful removal for months. After twelve days of hospitalization, in which the hospital noted "no bruises or evidence of physical abuse and her body status showed no evidence of neglect" , and "Initially there was some suspicion of ADHD along with autistic aggression, but this dissipated as Ayn improved...". The hospital insisted on discharging her (june 28th), she is now in foster care awaiting further hospitalization as the Ministry has waitlisted Ayn for a longer term residential based psychiatric assessment. My little girl is autistic, she does not require a psychiatric assessment, I am aware that she does not understand the dangers that lurk, I love her and I protect her, when Ayn has a tantrum at school it is me they either call in to calm her or send her home to, when she is injured it is to me whom she turns because she "needs a bandage". The greatest successes this little girl has had were nurtured in the home, she loves it here, she loves her brothers and she loves her Dad, It is my firm belief that if our system of child protection has reached a point where a happy thriving child who was not abused and in no need of medicating, can be coercively removed from their family, forcibly medicated within hours, denied access to that family punitively, and the family is given no redress for months potentially years; then we are indeed facing a serious systemic problem. A problem which unfortunately is not confined to my city or province, nor even my country, for these acts are playing out around the world. Please help me get my little girl back and to address this issue in such a way that it never affects another family again.
I would be forever in your debt,
The preceding was updated on the 28th of July, and with a meeting on the 29th at my home with a social worker from the MCFD, came many new developments. I hesitate to sound overly optimistic, but what a difference: a day, the public spotlight and an experts opinion can make. Though I still lack a firm commitment from the Ministry, they have informed me that Ayn's case has now been reviewed by their resident autism expert. This expert has advised them against placing Ayn in the psychiatric facility, why this expert was not introduced to this case earlier is unknown. In addition the Ministry has ironically informed me that all they would like to see is for Ayn to have proper supports in place, something which I have been advocating for years now. With these supports in place she can come home... reason to rejoice? Perhaps, but without a firm Ministerial commitment to this I cannot relent in my quest for her return. Nor will I relent in my advocacy for the reformation necessary to prevent these systemic failures from ever effecting another family as it has mine. And I ask the same of all those whom have chosen to support Ayn, myself. and all those families facing this threat in the future. Please join us in ensuring Ayn comes home promptly and a positive reformation of the very system which allowed and endorsed these unjust actions. (Aug 1)