Fatal Care: The deaths of Alberta children in government care

Fatal Care, Publication ban lifted

 
In the last 14 years, 145 children have died in government care, nearly triple the number previously reported by the province. Many, like the child this father mourns at a gravesite west of Edmonton, were just infants.
 
The Alberta government has dramatically under-reported the number of child welfare deaths over the past decade, undermining public accountability and thwarting efforts at prevention and reform. A six-month Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald investigation found 145 foster children have died since 1999, nearly triple the 56 deaths revealed in government annual reports over the same period.

 

 

 

Eight-year-old Nevaeh Michaud died in her sleep at her group home on Jan. 5 2014, with a fatal concentration of prescription sleep aid in her system. An autopsy report concluded Nevaeh’s death could have been caused by “a medication dispensing error with excess medication possibly administered.” Edmonton police are investigating the death as suspicious.

Simons: Don’t look away from these children — they deserve more

Look at their faces. Look, and don’t look away.

Kyleigh Crier, 15, hanged herself from a closet bar rod in an Edmonton group home.

Province lifts publication ban on children in care (with photos)

The provincial government on Wednesday overturned a publication ban that made it illegal to publish ...

Marilyn Koren and her daughter Jamie Sullivan visit the gravesite of Jamie’s daughter Delonna near Warburg. Delonna was just four months when she died in April 2011. Born in November 2010, her obituary noted she never lived to see the beauty of a summer day.

‘I died that day’: Mother engulfed in grief over baby’s death

In the black hours after midnight, Jamie Sullivan sat in the lobby of the University of Alberta Hospital...

A woman grieves at the gravesite of a 15-year-old girl who was slain on the Sunchild First Nation near Rocky Mountain House on March 4, 2011.

 

 

No trial, no answers for foster family who tried to help raise troubled 15-year-old

She was murdered and dumped in a ditch in the remote, heavily forested area northwest of Rocky Mountain...

 

In early September 2013, the province released 2,556 pages of death records for all of the children who died while receiving in-care services between Jan. 1, 1999 and June 8, 2013. Many of them were heavily censored.

Five other cases of deaths in care the public should know about

A 14-year-old girl from the Blood First Nation near Lethbridge disappeared on her way home from school...

 

A father, who can only be identified as Merle, visits the grave site of his infant daughter at the Paul First Nation. The Journal received records for 287 children known to the provincial government who died between Jan. 1, 1999 and June 8, 2013.

Hundreds known to Alberta child welfare authorities died in the care of their parents. Why?

The name of the child in this story has been changed to comply with an Alberta law that prohibits identifying...

 

A father, who can only be identified as Merle, visits the grave site of his infant daughter at the Paul First Nation. The Journal received records for 287 children known to the provincial government who died between Jan. 1, 1999 and June 8, 2013.

Six stories you should know about

The Journal received records for 287 children known to the provincial government who died between Jan...

Part 2: Trends

 

 

 

 

 

 

UBC professor Shelly Johnson says many First Nations foster parents do not have proper training and support to deal with high-needs children.

Deaths of Alberta aboriginal children in care no ‘fluke of statistics’

Only nine per cent of Alberta children are aboriginal, yet they account for a staggering 78 per cent...

Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal killed himself in 1984. The 17-year-old, who had been placed in 28 different homes during his 14 years in the child welfare system, hanged himself from a cross bar he had nailed between two trees near his last foster home in Sangudo, northwest of Edmonton.

Thirty years later, little done to address suicide rate among aboriginal teens in care

Nearly 30 years after a fatality inquiry into a high-profile suicide generated sweeping recommendations...

Pallbearers carry the casket of a 21-month-old girl who died in foster care to a funeral mass at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples in Edmonton on Tuesday, March 9, 2010.

Simons: Opposition unites to demand public inquiry into deaths of kids in care

It’s not often you see the Wildrose, the Liberals and the New Democrats in perfect harmony. But...

 

 

Chief Rose Laboucan with the Driftpile Cree First Nation

Too many aboriginal children placed in foster care: Chief

A southern Alberta First Nations leader says too many aboriginal children are being taken into the care...

 


 

 

 

Part 3: Oversight

 
Human Services Minister Dave Hancock acknowledges that there is some overlap in the child death review system, but says that the results meet his ‘expectations.’
 
Alberta’s tangled system for investigating the deaths of foster children is secretive, redundant and fails to ensure recommendations to prevent similar deaths are acted upon, an Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald investigation has found. The child death review system is governed by two ministries, three different laws, an internal policy document, unwritten conventions and political whim.
 

 

 

 

Each province has a separate system for collecting data on child deaths in care, which makes it impossible to track trends across the country and undermines attempts to learn from tragic deaths.

National review system needed to save lives: experts

Leading advocates from across Canada say children’s lives could be saved if governments implement...

 
In early September 2013, the province released 2,556 pages of death records for all of the children who died while receiving in-care services between Jan. 1, 1999 and June 8, 2013. Many of them were heavily censored.

How do other provinces investigate child deaths?

British Columbia: Ministry conducts some internal reviews and sometimes issues recommendations; action...

For well over a decade, the Alberta government has been urged to establish a stronger child death review process.

How many calls does it take to fix the system?

For well over a decade, the Alberta government has been urged to establish a stronger child death review...

 

 

 

Del Graff, Alberta’s child and youth advocate.

Advocate says he would investigate all child deaths in care if directed by government

Alberta’s child and youth advocate says he can investigate all child deaths in care if he is provided...

Human Services Minister Dave Hancock and his boss, Premier Alison Redford, are progressive leaders well suited to tackling the job of overhauling the death review system for children in government care.

Opinion: Byzantine system of child death reviews fails bereaved families

When the unthinkable happens and a child in government care dies, there are two questions that should...

 


 

 

 

Part 4: Secrecy

 
Velvet Martin fought to have the publication ban lifted on the case of her daughter Samantha, who died after being in foster care. She argues many parents want to speak about their children’s cases, but don’t have the knowledge or resources to challenge the ban in court.
 
Alberta’s ban on publicizing the names and photos of children who die in provincial care is one of the most restrictive in the country, robbing grieving families of their ability to raise concerns in public about the deaths and sheltering government officials from scrutiny.

 

 

 

A woman we can only identify as Ness, tends to the grave of her daughter, Jade, who died of pneumonia while in foster care in 2009. This photo has been altered to remove Jade’s real name from the cross at her grave. A subsequent fatality inquiry identified numerous deficiencies in the girl’s care and repeated breaches of provincial rules.

The story of one Alberta foster child we wanted to tell you — but can’t (video)

The names of the mother, father and child have been changed to comply with an Alberta law that prohibits...

This boy was apprehended before he turned one because of concerns about his mother’s drug abuse. The foster parents who were looking after his two siblings agreed to take him, without sufficient time for reflection. Officials later learned the boy’s foster father had been convicted of assault causing bodily harm in 1987; he had originally been charged with manslaughter after he said he found his wife in bed with another man. After the boy died in 2005, his foster father was charged with second-d

Photos: Living, dying in the shadows

Since 1999, 145 children have died in foster care in Alberta. But a provincial law won’t let us...

Baby M’s funeral at the Canadian Islamic Centre took place on Sept. 22, 2012. On Thursday Nov. 28, the Supreme Court of Canada will rule on whether it will hear an appeal of the ruling to remove the two-year-old girl from life support.

Simons: When accused killers have no faces — Baby M case poses complex moral questions

Thursday morning, the Supreme Court of Canada will reveal whether it will hear the Baby M case. In May...

 

 

 

Fatal Care

Opinion: Keeping dead kids’ names hidden is harmful

Jordan Quinney. That’s a name I’ll never forget, even though I never knew the boy it belonged...


 

 

 

 

Part 5: Fallout

 
A father, who can only be identified as Merle, visits the grave site of his infant daughter at the Paul First Nation. She died while in foster care and the parents are suing the government for $1 million.
 
In a sudden, sickening instant, Sarah knew they were going to take her baby. She was lying in a hospital bed with her newborn daughter, Amy, just 10 hours old. The baby started fussing and she asked the child protection workers to leave for a moment, so she could breastfeed. They refused.
 

 

 

 

Lori Sigurdson, spokeswoman for the Alberta College of Social Workers, says caseworkers have a difficult job balancing the needs of high-risk children with their high caseloads.

Couple mourns foster son: ‘It was the worst day of our lives’

In the minutes after John realized his foster son was dead, time stopped. People around him were running...

In early September 2013, the province released 2,556 pages of death records for all of the children who died while receiving in-care services between Jan. 1, 1999 and June 8, 2013. Many of them were heavily censored.

Policies breached, warning signs missed in several deaths of Alberta foster children

Warning signs were missed, mistakes were repeated, and policies weren’t followed in several of...

Malcolm Mayes cartoon - November 25

Editorial: Secrecy in child welfare system fails the powerless

In the middle of a blinding snowstorm, an Edmonton Journal team drove west recently to visit the parents...

 

 


 

 

Part 6: Solutions

 

 

 

Six steps Alberta can take to fix the child welfare system

 

 

 

 

A woman we can only identify as Ness, tends to the grave of her daughter, Jade, who died of pneumonia while in foster care in 2009. A subsequent fatality inquiry identified numerous deficiencies in the girl’s care and repeated breaches of provincial rules.

 Over the past six months, the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald produced the province’s first definitive count of child welfare fatalities, based on death records unsealed by the Alberta government after a four-year legal battle.

 

contentmap_plugin
made with love from Joomla.it - No Festival

You must be logged in to comment due to spam issues.