More homes needed for people with developmental delays: N.S. MLA
Caitlyn Pickens' family says the government is forcing her out of her home, Newton House, because of her age.
Published Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:38PM AST
Nova Scotia Liberal MLA Kelly Regan is joining the call for more small option homes for people who have developmental delays.
The idea comes after a family told CTV News their daughter, who has special needs, may have to move into an adult home with older men.
Cheryl and Corey Pickens say the proposed option isn’t appropriate because their 23-year-old daughter Caitlyn acts more like a three-year-old.
She has lissencephaly - a rare brain disorder that has significantly delayed her development.
Regan, the Liberal Community Services critic, says the government isn’t thinking about the people who use such services.
“In what universe would you put someone who has the intellectual disabilities of a child in with adult men? You just wouldn’t do that.”
Caitlyn’s family made the tough decision six years ago to move her to Newton House, a youth home just five minutes away from their home in Bridgewater.
They thought Caitlyn would be able to stay at the home forever, but now they are being told she has to move because of her age.
Nova Scotia Community Services suggested she move to an adult home with a group that includes older men and is located 30 minutes away.
Brian Hennen, co-chair of the Community Homes Action Group, says he doesn’t want to speak about this case specifically, but says the overriding issue is that there aren’t enough homes.
“We want people to have a home like you and I have a home,” he says. “We’re concerned about inappropriate placements but we’re also concerned about the lack of choices available.”
Hennen says there are about 600 to 650 people across Nova Scotia waiting to get into community-based small option homes. He also says the issue isn’t unique to the province, but is a national issue.
“We actually spoke to a standing committee on community services over a year ago as a group. We spent three hours with them explaining the issues.”
Regan agrees it’s time for action.
“This was one of a number of issues that were raised back in 2008 when a report was done into small options homes and they’ve had all this time to do something and yet, nothing.”
The community services minister is on sick leave and no one from her staff was available for an interview.
Staff will be meeting with the Pickens’ family next week.
A spokesperson says their focus right now is working with the family to find the best option for Caitlyn.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster