Sunday, June 25, 2017

--"The statistics for kids with autism are one in 68 now. One in 68. So how does that play out when these kids get older? It's not going away. It's only going to get worse ... There will always be the Robyns in this world. There will always be people that need that level of care."---------Jim McCaskill 20 hrs · So if you’ve been following the news or are a part of the local theatre/arts scene you probably have heard whats going on with the Websters and their daughter and how Hands: The Family Help Network is doing everything it possibly can to not live up to its name. Well its time to make some noise. Spare a moment a write an email to the following people/groups. Please note that in the case of both Al McDonald and Vic Fedeli it may be useful to email them, than print out the email and hand deliver a copy to their office. Be polite, especially if you get a chance to speak with ether. CCing will be your friend in this. Keep in mind (and don’t be afraid to remind our elected officials) that the next Ontario General Election is legally required to happen no later than June 7, 2018. That’s within the next year, well within our collective memory.


Troubling that government is able to provide cash and legislation or really anything that the elite require but for families with disabled children we get to be on our knees begging for services and supports or placements for our kids.
Here's an idea folks. Get off your knees. Go public. Yap with media and go on social media. In Alberta government does nothing for you until you become an "emerging issue" which usually means that the GOA looks bad to the public and thereby embarrasses the governing politicians.
In Alberta getting media attention is the only way to get a placement for a severely disabled citizen. I encourage y'all to seek such ways of placement of evicted family members from the system. It's amazing what the entitled bureaucrats and ineffective politicians will do for y'all when faced with the attention of the public.
Of course you have to do this for decades as Ruth Adria of the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society has had to do but we're mummies aren't we? Let's go engage democratically with our hires.



I sometimes feel that problems faced by families with disabled children are overwhelming. The lack of diagnostic services early on results in a delay in the diagnosis of these children. Then the lack of supports and services result in failures of the children reaching their full potential. It's bewildering to me why the system is so chaotic and why there isn't automatic cradle to grave help for families.

Families who have disabled children are facing impossible burdens.  Some families break under the stresses and then the situation is even more dire for the parents who then have to cope with problems as single parents.

I don't know why government cannot provide effective provincial strategy for helping families with disabled children. In Alberta for example, there should be mandatory provisions for respite. You can't expect families to cope with a severely disabled child in their after work hours when they are entitled to some me time. It's very sad.

And what is even more sad is when the child had made it through childhood and must be placed in a group home or other facility for appropriate care. It's hard enough that families have to cope by themselves with the demands of the child but then to have the child turned over to someone else and then have the child punted down the line to the hospital--it's all bad news in terms of destabilization of the child's condition. Housing is a major issue for adult disabled citizens and government needs to provide such housing as it is clear to me that as more and more disabled children reach adulthood and their parents age, we will have an increasing need for such housing. Preferably this housing will allow independence or assisted living but if not there must be institution care of the Michener Centre sort.

As more and more children with disabilities live longer we are going to need a national strategy present to deal with the demands on the families, the communities and the system. We need a national strategy because in my opinion, individual provincial supports and services are all over the place and ultimately fail the disabled.  We need coherence, uniform provision of services and supports as well as an emphasis on housing for the disabled. Such a national strategy will ensure that supports and services provided all over Canada are appropriate and provided.

We're the families of disabled citizens. We speak for them. It's not right that they are not able to access the supports and services to allow them lives of dignity.  We need to change the way we provide the services and supports so that our children can be full citizens in our society. We need to say that there needs to be some institutions if only to keep our most complex care cases safe.  It's the best that can happen to the most vulnerable -to have institution settings with family-like settings present. But right now we have nothing and we're trying as families to make up a plan and a strategy as we go along. What we need is for all of us to speak clearly to government and say we need help. Not tomorrow. Now.

These are ultimately human rights issues and the response by government to date has been ineffective. This must change. In the case of Robyn Webster the failure of government to ensure appropriate placement has resulted in her presence in hospital which is an inappropriate place for her. It's not clear to me why there would not be a facility designed for citizens requiring complex or specialized services in every part of Canada. If we can provide billions to the oil and gas industry in subsidies and if we can provide aid to Bombardier why can't we help our most vulnerable citizens -first with a national strategy to get everyone on the same page and then a follow up action plan to help families who can't find any room at the inn--anywhere? I guess the oil and gas industry is more important than our kids.  The orphan well program loan alone would pay for major aid for children with disabilities in Alberta but I guess giving the money to big oil will result in better returns for the GOA.
Yes, it's pretty mind boggling. How government is able to tax us with a Carbon tax and then negate the Carbon tax for the industry with subsidies. How government is able to provide an interest free loan to the oil and gas industry that is sitting on billions of dollars in assets and profits. How government can do all of this sort of subversion of the public bank and tell us that --they're standing up for our families.

Gotta admire government. They've used us to pay the elite and the least among us have to beg for help. Until we no longer beg for help. We get off our knees and we get the help we need by direct democratic action --of the social media sort. Go get them Webster family!  #MediaAttention  #SocialMediaChangesEverything

https://www.facebook.com/michelle.jackettwebster


Alexine Marier with Michelle Jackett-Webster.
WHAT HAS HANDS DONE FOR ROBYN AND HER FAMILY?
I’m not one to campaign on social media but my heart aches for a beautiful girl who taught me that love can be expressed in many ways and if you take the time, you can see that life has many beautiful interpretations.
My dear friend and mentor, Michelle Jackett-Webster has 3 beautiful and remarkable children. I was privileged and blessed to get a look into her world when I worked alongside her with her Can-Do kids Theatre program; an inclusive theatre company dedicated to individuals in North Bay and Area with autism and other special needs. Michelle, who is a big advocate for autism with two children of her own on the spectrum, taught me patience, love, acceptance, understanding, tolerance and the power of listening. I could never fully put into words the impact that she, her family and the can-do kids had on me but I do know I am eternally grateful for the better person it has made me. Yet, today my heart aches because one of the strongest woman I know is reaching out for help and no one is listening.
Her daughter Robyn has been suffering. She has been in crisis and is being tossed around from place to place without the consistent care she needs. We may not always understand Robyn’s perspectives on life, but that doesn’t mean that she should be left behind. You see, Robyn has severe autism, is non-verbal and has been refused care she and her family so desperately need. Well over a month ago, HANDS (The Family Help Network) dropped the ball. Read these stories to find out more:
http://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/north-bay-mom-fears-for-a…
http://www.nugget.ca/…/no-place-in-north-bay-for-severely-a…
http://www.cbc.ca/…/north-bay-family-autistic-teen-help-1.4…
My heart is broken for this family. Robyn was hospitalized when she hit crisis. She was residing with HANDS at the time and they would not take her back. For 3 weeks she was living in a hospital, sometimes in an induced coma to manage behaviours – that is no way for anyone to live. She went home and then HANDS only granted a 3 week service agreement on the condition that the family would not speak to the media anymore. Robyn stayed with HANDS and has now been sent back to the hospital as a strategic move to get her out of the residence. Rather than work collaboratively to transition Robyn, they have done nothing to come up with a solution since terminating her placement except send her to hospital. Hospitals can be traumatic for anyone, but for Robyn it can spell catastrophe by sending her back into crisis. Luckily, Community Living, with special permission from the ministry, has stepped in with a placement but this will take time.
Why can’t Robyn be home, you ask? Well, Robyn's autism can manifest itself in violent behavior. The family has 2 other children’s’ health, safety and lives to consider on top of Robyn’s health and safety. Michelle explained on her blog, @ateamdiary:
“As for max this has been an autism nightmare. His anxiety has never been higher which has caused him to act out at home and at school. He keeps asking if Robyn is dying or dead. We have done our best to shelter him from intense conversations about her situation, but if he even hears me use a word that starts with ‘R’ he will run to me asking if I am talking about Robyn and if she is in the hospital and if she is ok. Robyn and Max have a complicated relationship because he is so sensitive to noise and Robyn's meltdowns send him into hysterics. He has also witnessed her attacks on me and been the victim of her violence. But at the base level he understands that she is his sister and is obviously very concerned. While I have been filling staffing gaps, I have had virtually no time to attend to his ever growing needs. Tomorrow I had to cancel accompanying him on his end of year school trip because I have Robyn to care for. If we are able to get Robyn through this crisis I may very well have to deal with a crisis that has been building with Max. I love all of my kids equally but the reality of the situation is that Robyn's crisis has me trapped and helpless to be the mom I always promised I would be to Emma and Max. None of this is my fault and these circumstances are beyond my control but that does not help with the guilt and sadness I go to bed with every night. Autism is a family issue, we are strong here at the A-team but it has taken its toll.”
This breaks my heart. The way in which Robyn has been treated is unacceptable. If this could happen to Robyn, with all of Michelle Jackett-Webster’s advocacy efforts, it’s happening to other Canadian families too.
If anyone out there knows of a way to help this family, I plead with you to reach out. The a-team diary
#autism #austismspeaks #ateamdiary #standupforeveryone #IStandByRobyn
Comments
Julie Ali In my experience advocating for a severely disabled sister in Alberta, government will do nothing until there is #MediaAttention and #SocialMediaChangesEverything. You simply have to go public and be willing to share your story and end your family privacy because otherwise the system fails you. It might still fail you with the publicity but at least you have made public documents that indicate to the public that there is no reason for this sort of system wide failure in provision of services and supports to families who have children with disabilities. What is going on here is derelict government performance. There has been enough information provided all over Canada about the problems families are having with the care of children with disabilities in the system. In the past families had extended family and community helps to get them through the work load. Now children with disabilities have more ability to live to an older age and yet we have seen no plan by government at all levels in terms of addressing the needs for housing and care. It's troubling but since government fails ,families have to make the plan for government. We have to do the work government refuses to do; instead of supporting families, government leaves the burden to families leading to burn out, stress for no reason and evictions that destabilize the handicapped person. All of these matters are avoidable. Government needs to get the work of providing supports, services and housing for citizens with disabilities initiated. These are human rights issues. Handicapped citizens have as much right to access to supports, services and housing as non-handicapped citizens.
Reply21 hrs
Michelle Jackett-Webster Well said and so accurate.
Reply13 hrs




This is hands 's mission statement. I'll let you decide if they have achieved it.
Comments
Donna Turgeon Michelle 
No 
What are they doing with all the funding to help achieve their mission statement
Reply3 hrs

Trudeau defends government aid to Bombardier after its senior execs boosted their pay by nearly 50%

The prime minister says he respects the free market and the choices that companies make, but his government also has a responsibility to help create sustainable jobs

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley
The Canadian Press
March 30, 2017
4:16 PM EDT
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BRAMPTON, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government’s decision to provide federal assistance to Bombardier after the company’s senior executives saw their compensation rise by nearly 50 per cent last year.
After touring a Magna auto parts facility in Brampton, Ont., today, Trudeau was asked several times how he can justify the $372.5-million loan package announced in February for Bombardier’s CSeries and Global 7000 aircraft programs.
Trudeau says he respects the free market and the choices that companies make, but his government also has a responsibility to ensure public investments help create sustainable jobs.
Total compensation for the Montreal-based manufacturer’s top five executives and board chairman was US$32.6 million in 2016, up from US$21.9 million the year before, according to a proxy circular ahead of Bombardier’s annual meeting on May 11.
The hike came at a time when Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) laid off thousands of workers as part of a turnaround plan.
BUSINESS

Canada's $3.3-Billion Subsidy To Oil An 'Anti-Carbon Tax': Groups

11/15/2016 01:53 EST | Updated 11/16/2016 12:22 EST





  • Bob Weber, The Canadian PressCP
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A study suggests Canada's attempts to set a price on carbon are being undercut by subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry.
A coalition of four environmental groups have summed up tax exemptions, investment credits and royalty breaks used by the fossil- fuel industry and compared the total against emissions data from Environment Canada.
The "carbon subsidy'' averages out to the equivalent of $19 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
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fort mcmurray
A large oil refinery along the Athabasca River, Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Photo: Getty Images)
That almost equals the price on carbon Alberta plans to implement next year, doubles the proposed initial federal price and negates two-thirds of British Columbia's $30 carbon levy.
"These subsidies undermine the notion of a price on carbon, which is intended to give incentives to reduce our fossil-fuel use and move toward cleaner use of energy,'' said Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence, one of the groups involved in the study.
Still, some warn ending those benefits wouldn't reduce emissions much and would chase investment out of the country.
The report calculates the total cost of fossil-fuel subsidies at about $3.3 billion a year. Nearly $1.2 billion comes from favourable federal tax treatment of oil and gas exploration and development projects.
There's no reason for that, Marshall said. Research suggests many of current oil and gas reserves already mapped will have to be left in the ground if climate change is to be kept under two degrees of warming.
"We know from the science that the vast majority of the reserves that are already there can't be exploited.''
"Fighting climate change means managed decline in fossil-fuel sectors. There's no other way to reduce emissions.''
— Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence
The second-biggest subsidy comes from Alberta, which provides $1.1 billion through forgone revenues from royalty reductions. The rest comes from a mix of federal and provincial tax credits and other subsidies.
Marshall said governments should be working to gradually scale down the industry, not encourage its growth.
"Fighting climate change means managed decline in fossil-fuel sectors. There's no other way to reduce emissions.''
Speaking in Marrakech at a UN climate-change conference, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Ottawa will end subsidies by 2024.
"We will do it in an intelligent way,'' she told reporters. "We obviously have to work with the provinces. We've already had discussions and I've had discussions with the finance minister.''
But tax breaks for exploration and development are how governments share risk at the iffiest end of the industry, said Jon Stringham, economics manager for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Removing them would simply divert investment to other countries — many of which, such as a Donald-Trump-led United States, are less than keen to reduce carbon emissions.
"Any (carbon regulation) on the American side is going to hit the dustbin,'' said Stringham. "We're not going to see onerous regulations.
"You're going to see investment flow out of Canada into the U.S.''
Finding new reserves allows industry to focus on those that are least carbon intensive, Stringham added.
Mark Jaccard, an energy economics at Simon Fraser University, points out the federal tax benefit is designed to encourage the overall mining and resource development sector. Economists dispute the actual impact on greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
Some subsidy programs are for research, he said.
"Much of the R&D subsidies now are to find ways to produce oilsands with less emissions,'' he said in an email. "So (should we) eliminate that?''
It's more effective to keep raising the cost of carbon, said Jaccard.
"I see (subsidies) as a bit of a diversion.''
Also on HuffPost
Renewable Energy Sources For Canadians
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Alberta plans loans to speed well reclamation

Legislation designed to speed up the management of orphaned wells and could create up to 1,650 jobs

Posted Jun. 1st, 2017 by Barb Glen
4
  • Orphaned wells pose a significant environmental risk for communities and the landowners who have inherited these impacts. | File photo
A loan to Alberta’s Orphan Well Association is being proposed by the Alberta government to assist in reclaiming about 152,000 abandoned or inactive oil and gas sites.
The government proposes to borrow $235 million for the loan and provide it to the OWA at a more favourable interest rate than it could access on its own.
Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said May 18 that the legislation has been introduced and is designed to speed up the management of Alberta’s many orphaned wells.
The number of abandoned sites was exacerbated by the drastic economic downturn in the oil and gas industry that forced many energy companies out of business or into bankruptcy.
If the legislation passes, the province would finance the loan using $30 million from the federal budget, said a government news release. It would be repaid over 10 years from the orphan fund levy paid by the energy industry.
The plan is also expected to create up to 1,650 jobs in reclamation work over the next three years.
“By enabling this work to happen right away, we’re able to reduce the backlog of orphan wells throughout Alberta while maintaining our polluter-pay principle,” McCuaig-Boyd said in the release.
Energy site reclamation work involves removing equipment, sealing wells and ensuring safety for the public.
Abandoned sites have become a concern for many farmers, ranchers and other landowners. Many who are concerned about reclamation have deemed funding for the OWA to be inadequate. Its annual budget is $30 million and as of March it had 2,084 orphaned wells slated for closure.
Last year it closed 185 wells.
The government said the OWA budget will increase to $60 million in 2019-20, paid by industry levies.
Daryl Bennett, director of the Alberta Surface Rights Federation, which has many farmer and rancher members, said “polluter-pay” is definitely the way to proceed.
“Speeding up the reclamation process will benefit landowners by preventing contamination, removing obstructions to farming operations and improving the food safety of crops and animals,” said Bennett in the news release.
Nikki Way, analyst with the Pembina Institute, also applauded the move.
“Orphaned wells pose a significant environmental risk for communities and the landowners who have inherited these impacts with no responsible owner.”
Pembina is encouraged by this effort in parallel with the ongoing efforts to review and reform the existing inadequate rules in place to address root causes of this problem and ensure that liabilities for cleanup are not transferred to Albertans.”
The government said it plans to improve existing policies for managing old oil and gas wells.

  • Orphan: A well or facility confirmed not to have anyone responsible or able to deal with its closure and reclamation.
  • Inactive: A well or facility where activities have stopped due to technical or economic reasons. Some may be reopened and produce again.
  • Abandoned: A site permanently dismantled and left in a safe condition.
  • Remediation: The process of cleaning up a contaminated well site to meet specific soil and groundwater standards.
  • Reclamation: The process of replacing soil and re-establishing vegetation on a well site so it can support activities that it did before it was disturbed.







Misplaced medical files delays autistic child's treatment

CBC News Posted: May 21, 2014 12:26 PM ET Last Updated: May 21, 2014 12:26 PM ET
North Bay's Michelle Webster says when she went to sign up her daughter for an intensive behaviour program, she was told Robyn's file wasn't in the system — including her diagnosis, psychological assessments, and genetic history.
North Bay's Michelle Webster says when she went to sign up her daughter for an intensive behaviour program, she was told Robyn's file wasn't in the system — including her diagnosis, psychological assessments, and genetic history. (Jesse Webster)
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A mother in North Bay says a ministry organization misplaced her autistic daughter's medical files, delaying an important treatment.
Michelle Webster thought her daughter's medical information was lost by the group providing her daughter's treatment. Three weeks later, Webster was told the information had simply been archived.
Webster said people are unaware of the difficulties families with autistic children have in obtaining services.
“Parents burn out from the system really easily. And this is one of the reasons why,” she said.
“It's because things that should be easy questions to ask and be answered, that agencies should know the answers to, are sometimes really difficult.”

Communication breakdown

Webster's 12-year-old daughter Robyn has severe autism and has limited verbal communication. Robyn was becoming violent and Webster needed immediate help.
She went to apply for an intensive behaviour program, offered locally through a provincially funded group called the Family Help Network — also known as Hands — but was told Robyn's file wasn't in the system. That file included Robyn's diagnosis, psychological assessments, and genetic history.
It was something they “definitely should have had because Robyn has been receiving services at Hands since she was two years old,” she said.
After three weeks of questions, Webster took to Facebook to voice her concerns.
That's when she was contacted by Jeffrey Hawkins, the group's executive director.
He told her the information she thought was lost had simply been archived.
“Clearly there was a communication breakdown by us. And that shouldn't have happened,’ Hawkins said.
Webster said she doesn't blame the organization, but is upset her daughter didn't get the treatment she desperately needed.
The executive director of the group said he's apologized for the mix-up and will ensure future employees know how to access the files.

VIDEO

North Bay mom blogs about daily life with kids on the autism spectrum

You get your diagnosis and no one ever tells you — Here, this is what you do next'

By Marina von Stackelberg, CBC News Posted: Apr 01, 2016 2:46 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 01, 2016 2:46 PM ET
Michelle Webster posed for a photo with her 14-year-old daughter Robyn, who has severe autism. “I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism," Webster says about her daily video blogs.
Michelle Webster posed for a photo with her 14-year-old daughter Robyn, who has severe autism. “I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism," Webster says about her daily video blogs. (Provided.)
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A North Bay mom is giving people a candid and personal look into life with two autistic children.
As part of World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, Michelle Webster started posting video blogs on Facebook.
In the videos she talks about everything from dealing with meltdowns and difficult family functions, to showcasing the unique personalities and behaviours of her kids.
Two of Webster's three kids have autism. Her 10-year-old son Max has moderate to severe autism, while 14-year-old Robyn has severe autism and is unable to communicate using words.


"Sometimes I feel like the images and the messages that are put out there by some autism agencies and the media don't really reflect my kids," Webster told CBC News.
"I thought it was really the best way I could think of to promote awareness and education about what autism is really like to live with."
She said that having two kids on opposite sides of the autism spectrum gives her a unique perspective.

Support decreases as kids age, mother says

Webster said she welcomes $333 million in new funding for autism recently announced by the Ontario government, but she's concerned the money is primarily focused on children under the age of six.
She noted people often think of autism as a childhood disorder, when it isn't.
"What happens is your children grow, their services deplete, and their needs increase. And when you put all those dynamics together, it makes for a very scary place."


Webster said getting support is a constant struggle — and the effort has sometimes left her pleading with agencies for help.
A year ago, when Robyn was dealing with violent episodes, Webster ended up at her local Community Living begging for help.
"I was bawling. And I was angry. And I just spewed at them. And I said, 'you have to do something. And if you don't know what to do you have to find me someone that does so my family can survive this and so that Robyn can be safe'," she said.
"It's really unfortunate that things have to get to complete crisis."
Through her blog, Webster said she hopes to give people a personal take on her experiences, and give them a human face to a disorder that affects 1 in 68 people. Autism is now the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada.
"I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism this week and I think that it's been achieved."



No place in North Bay for severely autistic daughter

Friday, May 26, 2017 12:35:14 EDT AM
Robyn Webster, 15, remains at North Bay Regional Health Centre following a violent incident last week during which the teen harmed herself. Robyn's mother, Michelle, is upset Hands: The Family Help Network has terminated Robyn's spot from the family home she has been living in since January. Hands said it hopes to meet with the family this week to discuss possible options.
Submitted photo
Robyn Webster, 15, remains at North Bay Regional Health Centre following a violent incident last week during which the teen harmed herself. Robyn's mother, Michelle, is upset Hands: The Family Help Network has terminated Robyn's spot from the family home she has been living in since January. Hands said it hopes to meet with the family this week to discuss possible options. Submitted photo

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Michelle Webster has reached a breaking point.
“The stress has put me over the edge. I'm broken. I'm done,” she said Thursday afternoon from the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
Webster has been fighting on behalf of her daughter, Robyn.
Robyn, 15, was admitted to the hospital just over two weeks ago after punching herself in the face until she was black and blue.
“She's hitting herself because she wants to tell you she's hurting,” Webster said.
“This was bad, but I can tell you it has been much worse. The bruising has been so bad, I didn't recognize her. She was black, blue, yellow, purple and green.”
Robyn is nonverbal autistic. She was diagnosed with autism at about 18 months and started to self-harm by the age of 11.
Robyn has inflicted countless bruises to her face, sustained a broken nose and caused blindness in one eye from the blunt force of her fists to her face.
In January, Robyn was moved into a family home operated by Hands: The Family Help Network that offers 24-hour care for children with complex needs.
Webster said the family spent a year contemplating the move and  was assured staff were aware of Robyn's needs.
“She loves it there,” Webster said.
But a week ago Webster was notified her daughter's spot at the family home was being terminated because Robyn requires a greater degree of care.
Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of Hands, said he intends to meet with family by the end of the week to review options for Robyn.
“The family needs to be part of the discussion,” he said Thursday. “There are options for Robyn. However, they're not local, they're not in the North Bay community.”
Hawkins said Hands is trying to find them as close as possible, but it looks like they are 90 minutes to two hours away.
“We're working with our community partners. Unfortunately, there is nothing in this area for Robyn.
“This is a very unique circumstance,” he said.
Webster said as of Thursday afternoon she still had no idea what that means or what options Robyn has left.
“They (Hands) assured us they were up for this challenge. They told us they could deal with Robyn and they wouldn't leave her,” she said. “We told them when we were discussing the idea of moving Robyn into (the family home) that if they couldn't handle her needs to let us know, because it would be more harmful to move her in and out of facilities.”
Robyn has been moved from the hospital's critical care unit to the paediatric ward. It's unknown how long she will remain in hospital.
“There's no place for her to go,” Webster said. “They have abandoned us. I just hope Hands is using this time to come up with a crisis response for Robyn.”
Webster said it's becoming more difficult to see her daughter in the hospital.
“She uses her iPad and eye movements. She looks at me and starts to cry and says 'car.'
“I know she wants to get out of the hospital. There's no reason for Robyn to be living in the hospital.”
Webster said the hospital has been the family's saving grace and a champion for the family.
She said she's been assured Robyn will not be discharged with no place to go.
“I would have preferred to be working with Hands, but they're not picking up the telephone,” Webster said. “They're not talking to us.”



AUDIO

'It felt cruel': Family seeking solution for nonverbal, autistic, self-harming teen

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details and images

By Olivia Stefanovich, CBC News Posted: May 23, 2017 5:06 AM ET Last Updated: May 23, 2017 4:38 PM ET
Robyn Webster, 15, is nonverbal and has severe autism. She was recently admitted to hospital because of self-harm.
Robyn Webster, 15, is nonverbal and has severe autism. She was recently admitted to hospital because of self-harm. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
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Photo of Olivia Stefanovich
Olivia Stefanovich
Olivia Stefanovich is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury, Ont. She covers a wide range of topics for radio, TV and online. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.

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Morning North
Nowhere to go for North Bay family's severely autistic daughter
LISTEN
09:55
A northern Ontario family is desperately searching for help after being told their severely autistic, nonverbal teenage daughter will not be able to return to her community care residence because of self-injurious behaviour.
Robyn Webster, 15, recently hurt herself so badly that she ended up in hospital.
"As her mom, I can't even put into words what it's like to look at your child hitting herself in the face," Robyn's mother Michelle said.
"Swelling, bruising, breaking her nose multiple times. Knowing that she desperately needs something and wants something, and with no way to help her it's the worst kind of helplessness ever."
Robyn was receiving 24 hour support at a residence in North Bay, Ont., run by Hands: The Family Help Network through a one year financial grant of $181,804 from the Ontario government.
Jesse and Michelle Webster
Robyn Webster's parents, Jesse and Michelle, are trying to find a long-term care solution to suit her needs. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)
Robyn began to transition into the facility last June, but only moved in on a full-time basis last December.
Five months later, The Family Help Network began the process of terminating Robyn's placement on May 15 because the administration said she needs a higher level of service.

'Incredibly shocked'

"It felt cruel," Michelle said.
"We are incredibly shocked to hear that that was the approach they were taking upon the first time that she ran into crisis when we had done our best to advise them that this was most likely going to come their way."
Robyn Webster
Robyn Webster lost her vision in her right eye due to self-injury, according to her mom Michelle. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
Robyn was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, according to Michelle, and started to self-harm when she turned 11.
Robyn lost her vision in her right eye due to self-injury, and can at times become aggressive towards others.
"[It's] very much like being on the inside of an abusive family," Michelle said.
"It's out of context because it's a child against parents, but in essence that's what my other children are watching. They're watching their sibling very seriously hurting their parent. They're watching their parent engage in physical confrontation with one of their siblings. It is not mentally healthy."

'No way to keep our family safe'

The Websters said they cannot let Robyn live at their home anymore.
"There was no way to keep our family safe," Michelle said.
"It was leading to the breakdown of our family. A breakdown of our marriage ... We are desperate to keep our family together."
Robyn Webster
Robyn Webster's family wants her to receive treatment close to their home in North Bay, Ont. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
Hands was also challenged by Robyn's condition and that is why the organization is recommending that she seek other support for her "high intensity" needs, according to Hands executive director Jeffrey Hawkins.
"We've worked our darndest," Hawkins said.
"We're disappointed and we're sorry that new circumstances evolved."
It is not clear if there is a setting available in North Bay to support Robyn's needs, according to Hawkins, but he said his health network will be working with the family on a transition plan.

Family help network 'not abandoning' Robyn

"We're not abandoning, but we're putting the interests of the child and youth at the forefront, and we're staying the course," Hawkins said.
"As long as they [Robyn's family] want us to be part of it, we're prepared to be there."
The provincial funding that was given to Robyn will either follow her to another facility or be returned to the government, according to Hawkins.
Jeffrey Hawkins
Jeffrey Hawkins is the executive director of Hands: The Family Health Network in North Bay, Ont. (Joel Ashak/Radio-Canada)
"My sadness comes from the fact that for some reason it seems justifiable to withdraw care based on level of need," Michelle said.
"We define our society by how we treat our most vulnerable. If that's any definition of the kind of value we place in people like Robyn, than I am really, really sad."
Agencies that work with children on the autism spectrum are stretched to their limits, according to France Gelinas who is Ontario NDP health critic and Nickel Belt MPP.
"Those children fall basically through all the cracks possible," Gelinas said.
"Their parents become responsible for those kids and most of the time it ends up with finding a home far away, always in southern Ontario ... I don't understand. We have so many of them having to go down south, why don't we build those resources up here?"

Autism assistance lacking: MPP

The provincial government recently announced an overhaul to Ontario's autism program that will allow people to choose between government-funded services or receiving funding to pay for private therapy, but Gelinas said she still feels families in rural, northern areas will be "shortchanged."
France Gelinas
France Gelinas, Nickel Belt MPP. (Joel Ashak/Radio-Canada)
"Between what was announced and what's actually being rolled out and what we can see on the ground, there's a big gap between the two," Gelinas said.
"We owe it to every child to give them a chance to achieve their full potential and I know that the children up north that have high needs are not getting that."
If possible, Michelle would like to keep Robyn near her home in North Bay, as she is not convinced the services in southern Ontario are much better.

'This is so much bigger'

"I've spent 15 years advocating for my daughter and collecting this great community of people who are willing to fight for her," Michelle said.
"If she's living outside of North Bay, I have to start that process all over again."
Michelle Webster and Robyn Webster
Michelle Webster and her daughter Robyn in happier times. (Michelle Webster/Supplied)
Michelle blogs about her journey with Robyn on Facebook.
She worries about what services will be in place in the future for people who have conditions like her daughter's.
"There may not be a happy ending to our story, but this is so much bigger," Michelle said.
"The statistics for kids with autism are one in 68 now. One in 68. So how does that play out when these kids get older? It's not going away. It's only going to get worse ... There will always be the Robyns in this world. There will always be people that need that level of care."





So if you’ve been following the news or are a part of the local theatre/arts scene you probably have heard whats going on with the Websters and their daughter and how Hands: The Family Help Network is doing everything it possibly can to not live up to its name.
Well its time to make some noise.
Spare a moment a write an email to the following people/groups. Please note that in the case of both Al McDonald and Vic Fedeli it may be useful to email them, than print out the email and hand deliver a copy to their office. Be polite, especially if you get a chance to speak with ether.
CCing will be your friend in this. Keep in mind (and don’t be afraid to remind our elected officials) that the next Ontario General Election is legally required to happen no later than June 7, 2018. That’s within the next year, well within our collective memory.
Mayor Al McDonald
Tel: 705-474-0400, X2517
Fax: 705-474-4925
E-mail: mayor@cityofnorthbay.ca
www.cityofnorthbay.ca
facebook.com/barly54
twitter.com/mayoralmcdonald
facebook.com/cityofnorthbay
twitter.com/cityofnorthbay
Vic Fedeli MPP
Constituency Office
165 Main Street East
North Bay, Ontario P1B 1A9
Tel. (705) 474-8340
Fax: (705) 474-9747
Email: vic.fedelico@pc.ola.org
You can also reach Fedeli through Facebook or his website that has a handy page set up to take feedback from the riding
http://fedeli.com/contact/
Premier Kathleen Wynn can be reached via this page
https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/…/fee…/default.aspx
The Ontario Liberal Party itself can be directly contacted here
Tel: (800) 268-7250
Fax: (416) 323-9425
info@ontarioliberal.ca
10 St. Mary Street, Suite 210
Toronto, ON
M4Y 1P9
Nathan Gravelle Nipissing Provincial Liberal Association President
Phone: (249) 358-0035
gravellend@gmail.com
Patrick Brown, Leader of the Official Opposition can be reached via this page
http://www.patrickbrownmpp.ca/Contact
The Progressive Conservative Party can be contacted here
http://www.ontariopc.com/Contact
William Ferguson, PC Riding Association President (scroll down)
http://www.ontariopc.com/OurTeam/President
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP, can be contacted via this page
http://www.ontariondp.ca/andrea_horwath
The NDP can be contacted directly here
http://www.ontariondp.ca/contact_ondp
MPP Michael Coteau is the Minister for Children and Youth Services which funds Hands.
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do…
MPP Sophie Kiwala is the Parliamentary Assistant for the above.
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do…
MPP Gila Martow is the PC Critic for Children, Youth and Families
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do…
MPP Monique Taylor is the NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services as well as the Critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities.
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do…
Hands can be contacted directly
222 Main Street East
North Bay ON P1B 1B1
T. 705-476-2293
1-800-668-8555
F. 705-495-1373
Hands’ Corporate Sponsors can be written to as well. Inform them of the situation and let them know this will affect any future business you might have with them.
Great West Life Assurance Company
https://www.facebook.com/GreatWestLife/
To send a Letter to the Editor, North Bay Nugget
http://www.nugget.ca/letters

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Megan Johnson Awesome ! Thank you !

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Julie Ali #SocialMediaChangesEverything--this is the way you do it folks.

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