B.C.’s youth watchdog says a coroner’s inquest into a murder-suicide involving a northern B.C. mom who said she couldn’t get the help she needed to care for her severely autistic son, will shine a light on the entire system.
Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, says 39 year old Angie Robinson was in deep desperation, before killing her 16-year-old son Robert last April.
“The fact that she didn’t feel a community of support or the actual services available for her son appears to have been a major factor in her decision to take his life and her own life. I’ve seen other cases where the services haven’t been strong, so this will be a full public airing, a full public accountability.”
“The factors that were at play for this mom, included deep desperation about not being able to find support for her son, and dealing with a son who was kind of falling apart, and not knowing what to do, and being turned away, and feeling extremely isolated.”
Turpel-Lafond says it raises questions if sometimes families in need are abandoned by the government.
Inclusion BC, a disabilities advocacy group, says it will seek status as a party of public interest.
Executive Director, Faith Bodnar, says the inquest will determine better ways to support families who have children with high complex needs.
“We also need to make sure and look at how families get or not get support, we need to look at all of the systems, there were a lot of government departments involved in this family’s life, things just fell off the rails again and again.”
“I know there is a shortage, generally, for children with special needs, including those with autism. We have alot of experts and alot of knowledge in our province, and we have been supporting children and youth with autism for many many years, and there is no reason why that couldn’t have happened for this family, no reason.”
Bodnar says smaller communities struggle more to support youth with special needs.
A date for the inquest has not yet been set.