Newborn taken from Hope couple

A premature baby born to former Hope couple Paul and Zabeth Bayne was removed from their care by the B.C. child and family ministry last Thursday.

A premature baby born to former Hope couple Paul and Zabeth Bayne was removed from their care by the B.C. child and family ministry last Thursday.

“We’re just devastated,” Zabeth Bayne said in a telephone interview from her hospital room the next day.

“It was a traumatic and cruel experience, the way it was done,” she said.

Ministry officials declined comment because the case is before the courts, but in an email explained that in any child protection case, the ministry’s first priority is to make sure the child is not in danger.

“If it is deemed that a child needs protection, (the ministry), through its legislation, must go before the courts within seven days,” the ministry said, where a judge will decide if the child should remain in ministry care or be returned to the parents.

But to the Baynes – and to supporters who contacted The Progress – removing the baby born prematurely put his health and safety at risk and robbed him of the chance to bond with his mother.

“How is this in the best interest of the child?” supporter Rachel Kragh asked in an email. “Anyone with an inkling of a brain knows that a baby needs that bonding time with his mom, especially if he is small and earlier than most normal births.”

The Baynes’ baby boy weighed in at 3 lbs 15 oz when born at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

Zabeth Bayne said she pleaded with the social worker to let the baby stay with her until he gained weight.

“But (the social worker) said he had orders from above that he had to remove the baby from us,” she said.

The couple, who now live in Surrey, have been in a much-publicized court fight since 2007 with the ministry for the return of their three older children after allegations were made that they had shaken a baby daughter, causing brain injury.

The couple claimed the child was injured after an older brother, a toddler at the time, tripped and fell on top of her.

Chilliwack provincial court judge Thomas Crabtree is expected to make a ruling on the case sometime this month.

Supporters of the couple accuse the ministry with dragging out the court case because the Baynes embarrassed officials by going to the media with their story.

rfreeman@theprogress.com