Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/5/2015 (2335 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The mother of the girl whose attack will likely be remembered for helping put an end to the child welfare practice of housing kids in hotels invited media to her daughter’s hospital room Wednesday for the first time.
"She’s happy today; she’s smiling," said the mother, who can’t be identified under child welfare laws that protect her daughter’s identity.
The Health Science Centre room was bright and filled with sunshine, with a clear view of the inner-city rooftops.
It’s been almost two months since the teen, 15, was brutally attacked.
Both the victim and her accused attacker were wards of Child and Family Service and placed in the same hotel at the time of the attack.
The accused, a 15-year-old boy, is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault.
In the wake of the incident, the province reiterated its pledge to end the use of hotels to house wards and for the first time set a deadline — June 1 — to fulfil the promise.
Two months later, the girl has survived an induced coma and life on a ventilator and regained consciousness.
Wednesday was a good day. She lay quietly in bed, looking years younger than her actual age. The rails were upright and padded for added security. The bed almost resembled a nest.
She smiled at her mother, clearly recognizing her voice. And she returned the grip when her mother reached for her hand.
The mother proudly showed off the decorations in her daughter’s room; walls covered with greeting cards and coloured stencils of bright butterflies.
A wall of honour is filled with photos of the teen before the attack, her scholarship for violin lessons near a photo of her basketball jersey.
And on the windowsill, a plaster sculpture holds a place of honour.
HSC staff made the cast for the family, a life-sized model of two hands clasped together. "This is my hand and her hand," the mother said. Staff took plaster moulds and created the piece.
The teen’s family is reluctant to discuss her prognosis.
There’s no indication of when she might leave HSC. She needs nursing care around the clock; she is fed through a feeding tube.
A month ago the mother called media late one night after the decision to remove her daughter’s ventilator.
At that time, she was frustrated and lashed out at CFS, questioning the conditions and level of supervision at hotels used as shelters for at-risk kids.
She warned parents against calling CFS for help.
This time, she said she wants custody of her daughter and her son, 9, who is also in CFS care.
She recounted a story about her son showing up suddenly at the hospital two nights ago at 10:20 p.m.
When he came in he said, ‘Mom, I need to see someone I love,’ " the mother said.
He’d run away from his foster home, crossed the rail yards that divide the North End from the inner core and wandered the hospital for nearly two hours until he found his sister’s room, the mother said.
The day after the attack on her daughter, child welfare officials moved to formally apprehend her into their permanent care, the mother said.
"It’s getting crazy," the mother said. "Friday she had to have surgery and they had to chase down CFS for a signature."
Consent came quickly enough for the procedure to insert a larger feeding tube, but the mother sees a problem with CFS being in charge of her daughter’s life.
"I want her back in my care. They didn’t apprehend her until after the attack. She doesn’t need their support. She needs her family."
The mother said her mother was raising the teen — whom she said is a basketball star in school and a musician with a violin scholarship — when the family ran into trouble and turned to CFS for help.
The placement was to be temporary but it didn’t turn out that way, the mother said.
While under CFS care and housed in a downtown hotel, the teen was viciously assaulted.
She was found early April 1 near the entrance to the Cityplace parkade on Hargrave Street. She was taken to hospital in critical condition.
"The doctors only expected her to survive a couple of hours. It’s going on two months," the mother said with pride.