A Saskatchewan couple says the government needs to be more flexible when it comes to foster children with intellectual disabilities once they reach adulthood.

Foster parents Shannon and Chris Gardiner have raised Mathew Brandon for more than 15 years.

But despite the couple's fight last year to have Brandon continue to live with them when he turned 21 years old, the couple was told by Social Services they had to move him to a group home.


Matthew Brandon has autism, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome, and even though he's 21 years old, mentally he's still a toddler. (CBC)

Brandon was put in a group home, but the couple said that didn't work and they brought him back home with them.

"He requires that things be a certain way and we've been very good at evolving a care model around that and it's taken a long time to do it," said Chris Gardiner.

The couple said because of Brandon's disabilities he requires a consistent and predictable routine.

Brandon has autism, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome, and even though he's 21, mentally he's still a toddler.

Currently, the couple is taking care of Brandon without any financial help from the government.

"We did attempt to transition last year into a group home...it failed miserably," said Chris. "Matthew reacted very negatively to it," he continued.

"He did sustain an injury, a physical injury" said Shannon. "And he's also still suffering some trauma as a result."

The couple said Brandon had an altercation with the staff at the home.

"Matthew is the kind of person where if things are not working in concert, flawlessly at all times, he does resort to aggression," said Chris.

Another concern the couple had when Brandon was in the group home was that he was no longer going to be taken out into the community, which was something they had worked hard to incorporate in his life.

"There's no known precedent in his case," said Shannon. "So a foster family keeping their high needs, vulnerable individual is something we don't believe the government is accustomed to."

Taking care of Brandon without any help from the government has made it a difficult year financially, said the Gardiners.

For more on this story you can listen to the CBC's Morning Edition's interview with the couple.