Caregiver's Defense: She Was 'Just Doing Her Job' When Boy Fell
To His Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 18, 2006
TORONTO, ONTARIO--A 25-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with criminal negligence causing death, related to the fatal fall of a boy that had autism.
Tamika Elliott had been a caregiver for the 12-year-old boy, whose name has not been published, for about a year when she took him to her 16th-floor apartment on the evening of May 4. She told police she left the boy to go to another room, but that when she came back he had vanished.
The boy was found on the ground in front of the building. He later died from his injuries at a local hospital.
Elliott's attorney, Chris Murphy, told the Toronto Sun that the boy's death was an unfortunate accident. He predicted, however, that a conviction for his client could have a negative impact on parents of other children with the disability.
"This is open season on child-care workers who take care of autistic kids," Murphy said. "They're just playing pin the tail on the donkey."
"This kid couldn't be left alone," he said, but added, "There's no way I can see a jury convict this woman for just doing her job."
Louise Fleming, executive director of Autism Society Canada, told the Toronto Star that there need to be higher national standards for caring for children with autism.