This morning, not quite awake yet, I turned on Global BC’s morning news.  As they talked about the various events, I don’t think I paid much attention.  I was just too tired and struggling to wake up.  Suddenly “Bam!” a story reported by Catherine Pope catches my attention with horror.  It was not the freak storms, the London riots, or the roller coaster ride of the economy.  All of those can certainly catch your attention, but this was a story that hit my heart about a young girl who will be turning 19 soon.


For most of us turning 19 can be an exciting time and the official transition into adulthood.  For Christina Bartels and her mother, this will be terrifying.  Christina has the mental capacity of a 2 year old.  She is deaf and blind.  She has lived in a facility full time receiving one on one care for some time now.  She is used to those who have cared for her and learned her signs of when she is getting sick, etc.  Next week her whole world will change.


At 19, Christina becomes an adult, despite her mental capacity of a child.  In our governments eyes, that means she has to be moved to an adult facility.  She will only have nursing care till 5pm.  Imagine for a minute, leaving your two year old without one on one care after 5 pm.  Does that sound at all scary to you?  It does to me.  A two year old that is also deaf and blind being without one on one care is even more horrifying to think of.  


To me this was another example of how persons with disabilities and their families are not clearly consulted, understood, appreciated or granted proper care.  Christina does not eat or take her medications around strangers and this transition will not be an easy one.  For her mother, she is afraid her child will die without the care she needs.  A fear any mother of a child with disabilities has had.  


This forced transition also means Christina Bartels will no longer be under the care of Ministry of Children and Families.  Her file will be moved to Community Living BC.  I can tell  you from experience, whenever your file is moved, for a mother you have many concerns and unknowns on how it will affect your family.  Christina’s mother is clearly feeling the same and has a right to fear what lies ahead. 


When the reporter Catherine Pope tried to reach the Minister for CLBC Harry Bloy for comment, he was not available.  Hmmmm really?  Even if he did comment, it would probably only be enough to satisfy the public for now but not an actual understanding of what is happening.  In the best interest of this family and others like it, I could only wish the Minister would take a good, long look at this family and answer these questions: 


“Could you leave your 2 year old child with medical needs without care from 5pm till morning?” 

“Would you want your child’s needs to be considered before completely uprooting them from the safety of the life they’ve known?”


Does anyone else out there find this as ridiculous and alarming as I do?  Is this really the best our government can do?  Forcing this transition sounds like it’s more in the governments best interest than the families.  Shouldn’t it be up to the families of the person with disabilities to decide what facility is best for their love one? 


See Global BC News  - Fearful transition to adult care


One Response to “A Right to Fear”

  • Jennifer:

    Good Post. That seem ridiculous to transfer what is essentially a child in an adults body to the new facility. Really a recipe for disaster and I feel deeply for the family and the 2 year old that she is.
    Maybe the people in charge of this have some developmental disability as this is certainly not a solution that demonstrates intelligence.

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(Wheel-ist-ic) Adj: awareness or acceptance of actual fact, real existence, or truth with relation to inclusion, accessibility and/or persons with disabilities.

Let’s Be Wheelisitic is a blog designed to open communication, share and create change through parenting, awareness, inclusion and advocacy. Over the years people have encouraged me to use my voice and experiences with my daughter to help others with or without disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. This blog is my way of doing just that. I hope you will find this site enjoyable, educational, helpful, and rewarding.
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