A child who suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome was jailed, sexually abused and subdued with stun guns while he was in the custody of provincial authorities. The New Brunswick government is now being sued over its alleged failure to properly care for the boy.
A recent report by Child and Youth Advocate Bernard Richard, that I wrote about last week found gaping holes in the province’s support system for troubled children.
The lawsuit alleges that the boy was taken from his parents when he was 14 and placed in the protective care of provincial authorities.
“They thought they had no choice, but they also thought Family and Community Services would take good care of the child,” said the boys lawyer
“They now realize they were wrong.”
Because of his autism, the boy was bullied and isolated at group homes, as a result his behaviour deteriorated and led to police intervention.
The child was arrested when he turned 15. He was placed in a holding cell in a jail where he was repeatedly sexually abused by a guard. The guard was convicted of sexual assault.
On two other occasions, police used stun guns to bring the boy under control.
The province has denied all of the allegations in the lawsuit.
Richard’s report, Connecting the Dots is an indictment of the state of mental health services for youth in New Brunswick. Unfortunately mental health services has not been a priority for many governments and it remains to be seen what steps the province of New Brunswick will take to implement the 48 recommendations in the report.
What do you think? Will the government act on the recommendations? Or are lawsuits and the threat of further litigation the only option?