Child-Advocate Pushes For Restraint Regs
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 19, 2002
TORONTO, ONTARIO--Thirteen-year-old Stephanie Jobin, who had autism, died in 1998 after being restrained under a bean bag chair for 20 minutes by staff members of the Peel Children's Aid Society in Brampton, Ontario.
The following year, William Edgar, 13, died after being restrained by staff at another residential program in Peterborough, Ontario.
Those restraint-related deaths prompted Matthew Geigen-Miller to work toward making sure that all Canadian provinces have laws in place requiring residential staff to have training in CPR, first aid, and the use of restraints.
"They're being grabbed, pulled by their hair, shoved into corners, getting rug burn for things like not wanting to eat dinner or swearing at staff," said Geigen-Miller, who is with the advocacy group Defence for Children International.
"That's activity that poses a threat to a staff member's sense of power and authority, but not to their physical well-being."
Geigen-Miller is also trying to persuade a court to allow children at residential facilities who witness restraints to testify during court proceedings such as the inquests into Jobin's and Edgar's deaths.