Paul and Zabeth Bayne spent four years fighting accusations that they’d shaken their infant daughter, four desolate years in the lives of their children. They won their battle in August of 2011, when all four of their children were returned home, including the baby, who had been removed from his parents at birth and then spent the first six months of his life in foster care.
From the beginning, Paul and Zabeth Bayne took their struggle to the public. Reporter Kathy Tomlinson with the Canadian Broadcasting Company wrote baldly last winter in a summary news story, “In 2008, after the parents protested publicly about the baby’s removal, the government seized their two boys, then about four and three years old, for involving them in the publicity.”
But Zabeth Bayne kept speaking out, and she started organizing: By chance, in the same month that her children returned home last summer, she was also hosting her first conference for professionals and parents fighting false accusations of child abuse.
Having survived that logistical challenge, she’s organized another conference this summer, August 3 & 4 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her list of speakers includes forensic pathologist extraordinaire Dr. John Plunkett; attorney Mark Freeman, who has been suing hospitals and counties on behalf of falsely accused parents; head-injury researcher John Lloyd; and me.
Zabeth says she wants the conference to both improve professional understanding of shaken baby syndrome theory and foster individual connections:
“We encourage a case history upon registration. Last year we had medical records available to be given to the experts, who were able to provide a review of the files. We have also invited advocates and any other persons interested in the issues the conference will be discussing. It is really a unique merging of both professional and client, as both for reasons of their own are seeking information and connections.”
For more information, check out the conference web site: Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation. The cost is $250 Canadian, current very close to $250 U.S. The conference is at a small college campus, and guests have the option of staying in the dorms for $50 per night per person.
Last year’s conference was filmed by the Canadian news magazine the fifth estate, which featured the Baynes family in an excellent program on shaken baby syndrome, “Diagnosis Murder” (viewable only in Canada, unfortunately).
I’m encouraged. When I started this blog a year ago, I’d never heard of Paul and Zabeth Bayne; I missed the news last summer when their children came home; and I only stumbled on their conference web site a few months ago. Now here I am, thrilled at the prospect of meeting in person various people I’ve been chatting with online for months to years.
The community is building. The story is breaking. Together we are going to make a difference.