Justice for Ayn: #BlogforAyn

This past week I wrote about a stunning case of child "protective" services gone awry in Abbotsford, BC.

Ayn, an impish and beautiful nine year old girl with severe autism was taken from her family based on the assumption that her father - with two other children one of whom is also severly autistic - has more than he can handle.

When ministry workers told Derek, her father, that they wanted to take Ayn, he - like any parent - said, essentially, "over my dead body." And now, because he hasn't signed an agreement that states he voluntarily let them take her, he's facing an ongoing uphill legal battle to get her home.

Let me put it on the line here: Ayn is not neglected; Ayn is not abused. Ayn is not in immediate danger - not any more than any of our children.

However, since she's gone into care, Ayn has been subjected to abuse and neglect and is in plenty of danger.

The abuse: Within 70 hours of going into care, Ayn was put on two antipsychotic medications (risperdal and seroquel - both used typically to treat schizophrenia). Ayn has not been medicated before. Derek nor Ayn's mother approved drugs for their daughter. Since then she's also been put on another powerful antipsychotic (Chlorpromazine) which is administered at twice the recommended daily dosage for her age!

The neglect: For 18 days straight little Ayn cried for her daddy. Finally, on the 19th day, ministry workers asked Derek for a photograph to give to her. Is letting a child cry for 18 days straight not neglect?

The danger: Everytime Ayn acts out, she is medicated. Everytime Ayn asks for her Daddy, she is told he's not coming. Everytime Ayn cries, her father cannot hold her. She is being cared for by people who do not love her and would rather drug her than cope with her autistic behaviours. Does that not sound dangerous to you?

Ayn deserves better. Derek deserves better. Our society deserves to be better than this.

What can you do?
No one can force the ministry to give Ayn back. But together we can raise our voices to show them that the world is watching and they better treat Ayn - and Derek - better than this.

>> First I would urge you to familiarise yourself with the story. Read my column, join the facebook group or check out the news coverage of this case.

>> Then, please, go sign the petition.

>> If you can spare any money, consider donating to help pay for legal fees and experts. This fundraising site, created by Kat over at Kat's Cafe also features a widget you can add to your blog to encourage others to donate.

>> If you blog yourself, please, blog about Ayn. You can come back here and link in. You can also tweet your blog post under the #BlogforAyn hashtag and we'll make sure it gets seen by everyone! If you don't blog, but are on Twitter, feel free to RT the #BlogforAyn tweets to help spread the news.

>> Finally, if you've signed the petition and are wondering what kind of difference your one click will make, consider extending your influence by writing to those who have the power to reverse this decision:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Fax: (613) 941-6900
E-mail: pm@pm.gc.ca

Premier Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4
Fax: (250) 387-0087
E-mail: Christy@christyclark.ca


Mary McNeil
Minister of Children and Family Development
Room 306 Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Fax: (250) 387-9722
E-mail: mary.mcneil.mla@leg.bc.ca

Please do read what some other fabulous bloggers have to say about  Ayn's story. If you're blogging it, link in here: