Such is the case with one of my students. She lived with her grandmother til she was 16 and her gramma passed away. Then she was placed with her father, who is mentally ill - he has schizophrenia. They hardly knew each other, he could barely look after himself but that was who she had to live with.
For the past two years we have helped her as much as we could - we gave her breakfast, lunch and food to take home for supper. We helped her with her school uniform - bought new pieces when we could, found pieces in the lost and found, hemmed pants and gave her laundry detergent so she could keep them clean. She was too old for the Children's Aid Society and too young to make her own decisions. We tried to help them as a family but he was un-cooperative.
Recently she turned 18 and can now sign her own consent forms and make her own legal decisions. She decided she wanted to leave her home and her dad so yesterday we went to her home while dad was out and gathered up her clothing and personal belongings. The apartment was unspeakably dirty and horrible, dark and unfriendly, a deeply disturbing space.
We moved her into a woman's shelter. Over the two weeks of planning she never wavered once from her decision. This is a young lady with a mild intellectual disability and mental health issues of her own - but in this huge life-changing move her voice is loud and clear.
More to come....