A young, autistic woman, with a history of violence, has found a home in a Saint John special care facility after years of being shuffled between different homes and the hospital.
Savannah Shannon, 21, was in court Tuesday, facing a number of assault charges.
She was found not criminally responsible and released with the conditions that she keep the peace and follow the rules of her new home.
Shannon had been living at the Restigouche Hospital Centre, but a doctor's report says she is fit to return to the community.
Joy Sullivan was Shannon’s foster parent for 10 years until the girl’s violent outbursts forced her into a special care home.
That was the start of a series of moves for the young girl. She has also been in and out of court on assault charges since 2006.
Sullivan read about Shannon’s latest run-in with the legal system, so she decided to show up in court on Tuesday.
"She was back in court again, and that no one had shown up last time and I just ... I couldn't bear the thought of her sitting there with no one, thinking that no one cared about her," she said.
Even though Shannon now has a home to go to, Sullivan said she worries about her future.
Sullivan said the provincial government needs places for mentally challenged people who have a history of violence.
"A lot of them are out on the street, and I mean she couldn't in any way care for herself. She's a small child inside. She can't read," she said.
New facility studied
The New Brunswick government has been studying the possibility of creating a special facility for at-risk youth for several years.
Bernard Richard, a former child and youth advocate, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the idea.
Richard said in 2010 that he believed funding used to deal with young people suffering from autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders could be better spent. He said the current system is not working.
Families who have children with special needs have also demanded such a facility be created.
In January, an 18-year-old man checked himself out of the long-term mental health facility, Centracare, wearing only a Johnny shirt in subzero temperatures.
The young man’s father said he felt his son’s safety was in danger. He said the provincial government needs a special facility that can treat people with specific issues.