Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who should be allowed to be a parent?

The Children's Aid Society of Peel has petitioned to have a baby removed from the home of a couple who have cerebral palsy, unless the couple hires a full-time, and in their words, "able-bodied" attendant.

Metro Morning's Matt Galloway spoke with Ryan Machete, who works with the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities in Unfit parents.


I have heard of many cases where supervision is necessary for a parent with special needs--for example, a single mother with a seizure disorder--but it sounds like these parents have the necessary skills and the baby is not at risk. I hope they can open their minds to see that--this baby deserves to have his parents.


I just called my sister-in-law, as my brother and his wife, who both have cerebral palsy, were granted funding in order to provide 24 hour care for their son.

Obviously, the primary issue is about money and government resources. For example, the provincial government provides accessible housing in the form of two differing programs. The first, a 24-hour care facility, for those with severe disabilities. These building are privately owned, but subsidized by the government, and run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.

The second option available, to those with disabilities, is an "accessible housing unit. These buildings, or units, are also privately owned, and subsidized by the province, but do not provide any essential or daily services. Hence, those who typically live in these dwellings have moderate disabilities, usually receiving some assistance from their families or Direct Funding (DF).

Now, inherent in these two different programs, we discover the problem at hand. For instance, if one resides in a 24-hour care facility, they do not qualify for DF, and thus, cannot care for a child.

Moreover, DF is also funded by the Misistry of Health, but was designed to only be used as a form of respite, enabling independent living. However, in some cases, DF has provided 24-hour for parents with disabilities.

With this in mind, I believe resources are available, via the Ministry of Health, but the competing agencies, who provide these services, will be reluctant to foot the bill.

One thing is for sure though, "Attitudes, protocol, and possibly even the law needs to change."

Matt Kamaratakis

Not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, as a parent I know that the whole purpose of the argument is to decide what is best for the child's safety, but as a parent of 2 kids with special needs (including a daughter with CP), this story makes me nervous. I have always strived to create a world where my daughter can do anything she wants to do, and even though she's only eight, she loves kids and I suspect that one day, far in the future, she will want to be a mother. I'm afraid of my daughter losing this right just because she has cerebral palsy. She is smart, independent, and wise beyond her years and she, just like any other kid, is not defined by her disability. In that sense, this kind of story makes me wonder if we're taking a step back in terms of acceptance and inclusion.
I hope this little one gets to stay with his parents.