Skip to main content

'It's inhumane': Red Deer mom raises alarm about lack of care options for violent son with autism


A mom in central Alberta is growing increasingly desperate and frustrated with a lack of options for her 15-year-old son who has autism and has become too violent to live at home.

Her name is Vicki and CTV News Edmonton has agreed to not use her last name, or her son's name, for privacy reasons.

Vicki can hardly walk after two hip surgeries. While she should be resting and recovering, she's also wrestling with a difficult decision: her own health and safety or providing a home for her boy.

"As a mom, you're being asked to put your health aside. But at the same time, if I don't care for myself, who's going to advocate for him?" she asked.

Vicki, a single mother, has given her son into the temporary custody of children's services after the nearly six-foot-tall teenager became increasingly aggressive and violent.

"My other son tried to defend me and got injured the first time around," she said.

Since then, the boy has been kicked out of three group homes and a youth centre, twice for assault, Vicki said. Then, 12 hours into his stay at another centre, another problem.

"He somehow managed to scale an almost 20-foot fence and escaped," Vicki said, adding he broke his wrist and thumb in the process.

After being told by children's services they can't find any out-of-home options for him in Alberta, Vicki is now pleading for help from local MLAs and advocates.

"The fact that I've received no options for his care and his safety at this point, it's inhumane," she said.

The boy is currently in the children's psychiatric unit at the Red Deer Hospital. Once released, Vicki is worried she'll have to decide whether to bring him home or essentially leave him homeless.

"I don't know what decision I'm gonna make. It's an impossible decision to make," she said.

"If I let him back in my home and he escalates and he pushes me one more time, I could end up crippled for life if I don't heal."

A spokesperson for Alberta's ministry of seniors, community and social services said they've recently increased funding for vulnerable residents, including children with disabilities, by $60 million.

"We will continue to work closely with our counterparts in Alberta's children's services to ensure that unique needs are met," press secretary Hunter Baril wrote in a statement that did not specifically address Vicki's case.

Alberta's child and youth advocate is working on a special report, a spokesperson said, which will provide recommendations on how the government can provide "services and supports for young people with disabilities and complex needs."

That report will be released late next year.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha and Katie Chamberlain Top Stories

Stay Connected