Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled. Forced into LongTerm Care at 49, my sister with Down syndrome wants apology.
With the stroke of a pen, my disabled sister's human right to decide where she lives was wrongly taken away.
In a heart-breaking move, Teresa who has Down syndrome, was forced against her will into an old-age nursing home, by the Toronto Central CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and two of my siblings. Four days later, she was rescued by my 91-year old father who was "adamant" he did not want his daughter living in a nursing home. But then the nursing home called the police, in a shockingly callous and bizarre effort to force her back.
Teresa is demanding an apology from these two institutions, the CCAC and the Rekai Centre. This is a sorry mess. Her records show that the crisis list was manipulated to get Teresa to the very top, and placed in the nursing home. Her profile contained false information which made her appear to need 24/7 care. See the presentation I made with Teresa, to the Ontario Government's Select Committee:
Teresa’s story: Crisis, Capacity and Courage
By signing this petition you can help Teresa get an apology for the harm done to her. Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for wrongly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. Teresa is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police in a completely unnecessary, intimidating and callous attempt to force her back into their institution.
We need a full apology from both institutions because this is not just about one person -- it's about standing up for and protecting the human rights of all people with disabilities.
We are getting traction -- 48 hours after we launched this petition, the CEO of the Toronto Central CCAC, Stacey Daub, responded with a public apology to Teresa on Change.org. "I apologize for any part the Toronto Central CCAC contributed to this."
Teresa called the CCAC's apology "beautiful". CEO Daub has informed us that she is launching a "thorough investigation" into Teresa's case.
But the Rekai Centre has not responded at all. We need the Rekai Centre CEO, Mary Hoare, to offer a full and public apology for the harm they caused Teresa.
The truth is that if we had not rescued Teresa from the nursing home, she would have been living in an institution -- with no right to choose otherwise -- for the rest of her life. How could this happen in Canada? That's what Teresa and her supporters want to know.
And Teresa is not the only one being hurt. Developmentally disabled people are routinely being forced into inappropriate "care".
This is wrong. And it is having a catastrophic effect on the lives of so many people like Teresa.
We need to stand strong to protect the rights of developmentally disabled people so that what Teresa experienced does not happen to anyone else.
Please sign Teresa's petition, because human rights should never be disabled. Thank you in advance for your support!
P.S. Please further help Teresa by tweeting this petition #DisabilityRights
Nowhere Else to Go: 2007 / Toronto Star http://www.thestar.com/life/2007/02/16/nowhere_else_to_go.html
Disabled Forced into Nursing Homes
"In 1987, The Arc of Illinois filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities forced into nursing homes who did not require nursing home care."
To learn more about Teresa, please visit www.teresapocock.com
Over 25,000 people, 9 MPPs, and countless Toronto Star readers, are now watching how you handle this crisis -- and the numbers demanding an apology are growing everyday.
On March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day, Teresa Pocock launched her petition on Change.org demanding an apology from you for the harm your organizations have caused her.
People who hear of Teresa's story are outraged...
"I am disabled and don't want the same to happen to me." Sam Duerden
"As a parent of a child with DS, this is abhorrent." Nick Disney
"My cousin has Downs and I would never want this to happen to him!" Ingrid Sheriff
We appreciate the fact that Ms. Daub, CEO of the Toronto Central CCAC, apologized to Teresa within 48 hours of the petition's launch. Ms. Daub wrote, "I apologize for any part the Toronto Central CCAC contributed to this."
Then on April 4th, Teresa received the official news that the Toronto Central CCAC has launched a "comprehensive" investigation into her case. This is the type of leadership we expect. All organizations make mistakes, but the smart ones know that owning up to those mistakes, and identifying what went wrong, is the way to prevent them from happening again in the future.
Unfortunately, the silence by you, Ms. Hoare, and the Rekai Centre is deafening.
Ms. Hoare, Teresa Pocock is waiting for your public apology. The Rekai Centre has some explaining to do...
1. Why did the Rekai Centre call the police reporting Teresa as a 'missing person' four days after she was legally discharged?
2. Why have the Rekai Centre emails and records concerning the police call not been released? Why are they being kept secret?
3. Conflict of interest: Did the fact that Teresa has a relative on the Rekai Centre Board of Directors influence her placement? Did this conflict of interest influence your decision to call the police to force Teresa back into your nursing home?
4. The CCAC records show that Teresa's siblings called you directly on several occasions. This was considered "unorthodox" by the CCAC and raised alarm bells which took the matter further up their chain for review. Did the CCAC know about the conflict of interest?
These are just four of the disturbing questions we need answered.
It's time for the Rekai Centre to explain its actions in full and publicly apologize to Teresa. Your failure to respond is creating even more turmoil in Teresa's life and making the situation even worse.
Teresa's sister and Petition-owner