Looking for Home
November 25, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized
Randy is 23 years old and was born in Toronto. At the age of four he was placed in foster care outside the city. The foster family that took Randy in looked after him for twelve years. When foster children must share a bedroom, as Randy did in the home he grew up in, regulations require that they must leave the foster home by age 16. There is an age limit to foster care.
In Canada a crown ward goes where society has a place for them; where they end up is based largely upon a person’s age and the availability of limited housing. When at 16 Randy had to leave his foster family home he was matched by Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS) with a Family Home Provider. Although he loved being part of a family, adjusting to a new life in the Town of Parry Sound was too hard for a struggling teenager. After less than a year in his new home, Randy was admitted to hospital for depression treatment and was unable to return to his family home setting. Upon hospital discharge he was transported to a group home for teens two hours away from Parry Sound. At age 18, provincial rules required Randy to move to a group home for adults. Over six years Randy moved six times into different public housing and yet he somehow still managed to finish high school.
I was on reception at CLPS when I recently met Randy. His dark eyes were careful not to disclose too much, too fast, to the new person sitting at the desk. Randy struck me as intense, but behind his careful approach I sensed a fun-loving nature. The resiliency of some people astounds me and Randy is one of them.
It is a random event the birth of a child; whether they are born in Canada where we have social services or in places where they do not. Babies get the parents they get and Randy’s parents were addicted to drugs. Randy could have been any one of us but he is not; he is Randy living Randy’s life. Diagnosed with a mild developmental disability, Randy qualifies for some support services. He is a citizen of Parry Sound and has lived in a supported independent living setting in this area for two years. He is an eclectic, bright young man seeking security and love in his life.
What Randy really wants is to live in a family home; with a person in town, who has no pets, but does have an extra room and has time in their life to spend with him on his birthday, at Christmas and to go on vacations with; to make him part of their family circle.
Until the right match is made, CLPS has been able to reunite him with Donna, a woman who provided Randy with respite when he was a teenager. He goes to Donna’s for a couple of days twice a month. Donna wants him to feel “relaxed and free to be himself” when he comes over. She has a strong family circle and Randy spent the past Thanksgiving with her and her family on Manitoulin Island. Donna, who lives on her own, tells me, “It is good for me; he keeps me active”. They went swimming on Randy’s last visit and they both enjoy going for long walks.
There is a strong voice inside of Randy wanting to be recognized and respected as an individual. Randy knows what he wants and he tells me, “I want attachment, something that is permanent”. It is no wonder.
I remember being 23, emerging out of dependency and moving into self-reliance; too scared at times to make decisions without support but energetic and smart with a lot to contribute. The age from 20-25 is an important developmental transition into adulthood. Randy is a young adult who has not yet found a home or sufficient mentorship to give him solid ground to build a meaningful adult life on. “He is so young to have no one to care about him, with no access to family; he has no one”, Donna shares with me. Randy has Donna, support staff from Community Living and one friend he is learning to trust.
If you or someone you know would be interested in exploring the possibility of opening your home to Randy, the Family Home Program is a flexible option that matches people with developmental disabilities with individuals and families who can provide a caring, stable home environment. Family Home Providers can be can be single, couples or families of all types of compositions; have diverse experiences, backgrounds and lifestyles; can provide a consistent, nurturing home life; and are willing and capable of assisting another person in areas of daily living.
Once a Family Home arrangement is in place, flexible supports are arranged to ensure the ongoing success and development of a lasting relationship. Family Home staff act as a liaison between all parties to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Satisfaction with the arrangement is regularly assessed, both formally and informally. Staff will intervene and ensure that any needed adjustments are made and enable the best possible outcomes for all parties. The supports offered are tailored to each situation and take into consideration the unique qualities and needs of everyone involved.
For further information, please contact Lori McPhaden, Program Manager at 705-746-9330, ext. 237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.