VANCOUVER – A story is emerging of a terrible family tragedy in Prince Rupert that underlines the extraordinary stress that can face the parents of children with autism and the lack of resources.
Angie Robinson’s 16-year-old son Robbie had autism, and had become violent and uncontrollable.
Respite care provided by the government wasn’t working, so Angie asked for a residential placement for Robbie, but was told nothing was available.
Earlier this month she killed her son and then herself.
Autism advocates say this is another tragic example of how funding for autism and help for families is nowhere near what’s needed.
“We need to develop proper systems and we need to have a situation where a family who’s desperate actually knows where to go and they can’t be told ‘we have nothing for you,'” said Deborah Pugh from ACT – Autism Community Training.
“There should be a guarantee that a family who is in desperate circumstances can actually get support.”
Stephanie Cadieux, the Minister of Child and Family Development, spoke with Global News on the phone, insisting all the services the ministry offers are available throughout the province. When we asked if she would order a public inquiry into Angie and Robbie Robinson’s deaths, she said she wasn’t able to answer that question, saying, “at this point that hasn’t been considered.”
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” said Cadieux.
“There are for some programs and services, like speech pathology, there are challenges sometimes in providing those things in a timely way in small communities because the therapist isn’t available,” she added.
“As I mentioned there’s a suite of services available through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, a broad-ranging array of services because not every child’s circumstances are the same, nor every family.”
WATCH: Extended interview with Stephanie Cadieux:
WATCH: Discussing the issue on Unfiltered