A disabled couple in Mississauga are fighting to keep their newborn son after social workers threatened to take the boy away unless he receives round-the-clock care from an “able-bodied attendant.”
Maricyl Palisoc and her partner, Charles Wilton, are the parents of a healthy month-old baby boy named William. Both parents have cerebral palsy, a disorder that limits their motor skills and slurs their speech, but has no effect on their cognitive abilities.
However, the Peel Children’s Aid Society is concerned about the couple’s ability to take care of their son and has expressed an intention to remove William from their home unless his parents secure 24-hour care from an able-bodied person.
The boy’s mother told CBC that she and her partner do not want to lose their son.
"We know that we need help, but we know that we are the best thing for our boy right now,” Palisoc said. "We both wanted to be parents and now we are, and we don't want do give anyone control of our family."
So far, the couple have been receiving the type of help that the CAS has demanded, thanks to Ryan Machete, a program co-ordinator with the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities, which provided the funds for the services since William's birth.
Machete said he’s not convinced it is necessary to spend $2,000 a week for a caregiver when Palisoc is able to change diapers, breastfeed and to “do the necessities” that come with caring for a newborn.
“From what I’ve seen when I’ve been at the apartment … there’s really nothing that she’s unable to do,” Machete told Metro Morning.
However, he said, it is possible matters will become more challenging as William grows, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be able to look after her son.
“I think that maybe when William grows up to be six years old and hurts his knee and needs his mom to pick him up, and he’s 60, 70 pounds, maybe that might be a little bit more difficult for her to do,” Machete said.
The Peel Children’s Aid Society says confidentiality rules prevent it from commenting on the case. The organization is due to meet with William’s parents on Friday to try to work out an arrangement.
memo to children's aid: people with disabilities can be capable parents
This story makes me so angry and frustrated. I can only imagine how the parents feel! I've reached out to some activists I know who are people with disabilities for suggestions on how we can support this family.