Ayn Van Dyk is a 9-year-old autistic girl who, until June 16th, lived with her father, Derek Hoare, and two brothers, aged 11 and 10, in Abbotsford, British Columbia. But on June 16th, Child Protection Services (CPS) appeared at Hoare’s home and gave him two choices: He could either voluntarily hand over Ayn to them, or they would take her under an agreement from the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Hoare — understandably, to put it mildly — refused to sign over an order to have his daughter removed from her home. CPS took Ayn from her school and initially placed her in a “specialized hospital” for evaluation. She has since been placed in a foster home in which the foster parent is an RN. As Hoare just wrote today on a Facebook page he has set up to spread the word about Ayn’s removal from her family:
Please everyone I need your help if this matter is to rectified with as little damage as possible. Ayn is being drugged, she has been given risperdal (they have not told me the dosage yet though I should find out soon. This ordeal will now be measured in months not days or weeks. Unless we act. I know my next statement will require qualification, which I will ofcourse be elaborating upon, but I want no illusions here. If you have an autistic child, or care about an autistic child… you should be very worried… very very worried.
Hoare, his daughter’s primary caretaker and her only parental figure since birth, has not seen or spoken to her for over two weeks. It goes without saying that she misses him, as he wrote on July 4:
I received a call from the ministry, they said Ayn has been crying for me for the last 18 days, and would I please bring them a picture of myself for her to have. He also offered to speak with and I accepted, we spoke for an hour and a half. I believe he too is coming to see the incompleteness of the perpective, i’ll write more but I wanted to get that out. much was said, fight is not over, but I still firmly believe there is no way a protection case can be won against me. ask away your questions
I have been in contact with Derek Hoare via Facebook but have not actually met him. But as the parent of an autistic child, what has happened to Hoare and to Ayn feels as if it is happened to my family: When you’re the parent of a child with disabilities, you feel an immediate sense of community and shared experience with other parents and families, because no one else knows what it feels like to raise a beautiful child with so many struggles and challenges. The very mention a few years ago to put our son in a “temporary residential placement” — to remove him from our home — struck terror into my husband’s and my hearts and souls. This suggestion was made by my son’s teacher and the school district’s behavior consultant and, as you may imagine, led to some very unpleasant scenes between us and the school district personnel.
A child, especially a child with disabilities, needs to be with her family and certainly with the father who has devoted his life to her care and who loves her. Please help to bring Ayn back home.
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Photo of Ayn Van Dyk from a Facebook page set up by Derek Hoare.