Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Outrageous System Failure

My mini-series on social innovation in Canada will be continued tomorrow.  I'm still compiling my notes from a fascinating webcast today from MARS Discovery District in Toronto.

In the meantime, I find myself trying to control my outrage over a story in the news about a couple who are being threatened with losing their newborn baby to foster care.  Why?  The parents are both disabled with cerebral palsy.  The parent has many competencies (we are talking a gold medal Paralympian) and both parents have home support workers.

But anyone familiar with how social supports work will know that the home care workers who take care of each parent will not be allowed to touch the newborn because he is 'not the client'.  In fact, home support workers will be attached to one parent only, so even if one spouse suddenly needs help in the bathroom, the caregiver in the house will not be able to assist if they have been assigned to the other spouse.  Such is the insanity of our system.

Because healthy newborns are not allocated home support because they have no medical need, the knee-jerk reaction of the Children's Aid Society was to remove the child.  The assumptions of incapacity on the part of the parents is bad enough, but this situation reveals a deep and desperate inability of our publicly funded services to respond holistically to family needs.

Our systems need a revamp NOW and that is where social innovation comes in.  More tomorrow.
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