"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Pros and Cons Power of Guardianship

I've written extensively in the past about the various options open to parents to manage their legal relationship with their adult challenged children.

For some families, a power of attorney and personal directive might be the answer. For other families, it won't. For some families, guardianship will be the only sensible option.

I've also written on some of the reasons why guardianship can be such a useful tool in the right circumstances -  for everything from

  • being involved with the adult's medical care and having access to their medical records 
  • to managing their assets (finances)  
  • to the control it gives in dealing with third parties, such as various government departments and agencies on the adult's behalf.

Although all of the above obviously have great potential to be important in your adult child's life, today I would like to take a closer look at the last item listed above; namely, the control guardianship gives in dealing with third parties, such as various government agencies and departments.

Whether dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency around income tax or issues around the Disability Tax Credit, various financial institutions or financial planners as you manage your child's RDSP or Nova Scotia's own Department of Community Services (DCS) in regard to issues of "work placement" or "placement" of your adult child in a residential care facility, guardianship can be a very useful tool.

But guardianship can be particularly useful with regard to that latter item (dealing with DCS). Not only does having guardianship allow you to direct where your child lives and works, but it will allow you to be involved in ongoing care decisions with respect to such placements.

It's no secret that guardianship has, on more than one occasion, proven very valuable for parents who were initially refused access to information and records concerning their adult child who was living in a residential care facility. Both administrators and social workers often consider concerned parents to be nothing more than “busy bodies”.

However, once a guardianship order is obtained, such parents generally find that both  home administrators and social workers stop trying to do an end run around them. Sometimes, being granted access to information and records is enough. Other times, however, concerned parents with guardianship might decide to move their child to a different living situation where the child will be happier and their ongoing interest and involvement are appreciated and encouraged.

A very powerful tool, no?

And yet, the saga continues.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Voice in the Wilderness?

This homegrown video was created by a small group of parents with support from the Progress Centre for Early Intervention in an effort to raise awareness for the need for improved services for children with special needs.





Let's hope it's more than just a voice in the wilderness.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shameful



shame·ful/ˈSHāmfəl/
Adjective
Worthy of or causing shame or disgrace.
Synonyms
disgraceful - ignominious - scandalous - infamous

The word hardly does justice to my thoughts and feelings when I read this earlier today.
The federal government is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a court ruling that would force it to pay the cost of caring for a severely disabled aboriginal teenager living at home. 
The precedent-setting case involves an 18-year-old on the Pictou Landing reserve in Nova Scotia and his principal caregiver mother — who herself suffered a debilitating stroke in 2010. 
Last month the Federal Court ruled that Ottawa was wrong to cover only a fraction of the cost of care for Jeremy Meawasige, who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism, among other disabilities.
Really? Seriously?? I mean, haven't they done enough already?

The federal government really wants to continue fighting this when they've already lost twice in court?

They really want to continue fighting this when the House of Commons unanimously voted in favour of adopting Jordan's Principle in 2005 and federal departments publicly pledged to respect Jordan's Principle in their policies?

They really want to fight this when the Federal Court has found that Ottawa's unlawful failure to cover only $2,200 of the $8,200 a month cost of Jeremy's care leaves his family with no other option than institutionalization and separation from his mother and his community?

~  ~  ~  ~

By the way, want to hear a funny?
A departmental spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs said the government continues to make the health and safety of First Nations a priority. 
“The government of Canada will work with the Pictou Landing First Nation for the reimbursement of home-care costs incurred related to Mr. Meawasige’s need, however following careful consideration we have decided to appeal the decision,” Genevieve Guibert said in an e-mail. 
“Canada is committed to working with the community and the province to ensure appropriate supports are in place for the family moving forward.”
Oh, okay, now I get it.

Run along, it's all taken care of now.

Don't you see - the government is all about working with the First Nations to reimburse Jeremy's home care costs.

Which, of course, would completely explain the how and why behind the Canadian government - your and my federal government - spending over $3 million to date just so they won't have to pay the $8,200 per month required to keep Jeremy at home.

Ever wonder what's really going on?
“We think that after these cases go through, the federal government’s programs for first nations people will need a drastic overhaul in order to deliver services equal to what other Canadians receive,” said Kent Elson, a Toronto lawyer who is involved in the policing and special education challenges. 
But if the government wins, recently won powers for first nations to launch human rights complaints would be severely restricted, the acting head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has said.

“We think this is one of the most important human rights issues this decade,” Mr. Elson added.
And to think that people continue to ask me, with a straight face, nonetheless, why I have never (and could never picture myself) voted Conservative.

Now that's brazen.