Ayn van Dyk: seized for no reason, spends 10th birthday in care

Single father fighting to get autistic daughter back

This report tells part of the ongoing story of Ayn van Dyk, who was seized from her home, which she shared with her father and two brothers, after briefly going missing. She has severe autism although academically, she was (at least before being traumatically taken into care from school) close to her age group. The local authorities do not claim that Ayn was in danger from her father, Derek Hoare, but simply that her care was too much for him to manage along with two other children, one of them also autistic. They are still living with him. (Their parents split up some years ago, and she still sees all of the children, and has visited Ayn in care - the article explains why her father has not.)

That Ayn is still in care after all this time is simply inexcusable given that there is no issue of Ayn being in any danger from anyone else in her family. The delay seems to be partly due to Derek Hoare’s refusal to see Ayn while in foster care, which stems from the belief that for him to see her and then leave will cause her distress and harm their long-term relationship. It is also, however, a matter of the authority rushing into a wrong decision and then failing to rectify it promptly. This should surely have been sorted out round a table in July.

This demonstrates why openness is vital in such proceedings: the secrecy which is normal in cases involving children in the UK better helps protect the authorities from embarrassment than children from abuse or danger. It also gives ammunition to columnists like Christopher Booker (who has a low-tax, small-state agenda), who complain endlessly of being unable to report heinous abuses by social workers while — supposedly — happy children from stable families (active in the local Tory party or field sports set) are taken into care and put up for adoption on spurious grounds at (all-important) major cost to the taxpayer. At least the social services in British Columbia will not be able to run and hide as Ayn’s story is well-known around the world.

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