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Trust Me With Your Kid's Life
June 10, 2008 permalink
Here is the latest installment in the Alberta Kafka case, in which an unnamed child died at the hands of an unnamed woman who went to trial with an unknown outcome. Janice Tarchuk, Alberta's minister of children and youth services, has issued a press release on a special review. Two of the review board's eight recommendations deal with overcrowding in foster homes. You don't need to know the other six. Do you feel your children are safer now?
Child's death leads to tightening of Alberta's foster parent rules
EDMONTON — The death of a child living in an Edmonton home has led to an overhaul of foster care in Alberta, including a closer assessment of who takes in children.
The government review was ordered after a 32-year-old woman was charged with second-degree murder in the death of a three-year-old boy in her care in January 2007.
The woman was also charged with assault causing bodily harm and failure to provide the necessities of life.
Janice Tarchuk, minister of children and youth services, ordered a special review into the boy's death.
Critics of the foster-care system say the real problem is a shortage of people willing to take in children across Alberta.
Two of the review board's eight recommendations deal with overcrowding in foster homes.
Source: Canadian Press hosted by Google
Addendum: The Calgary Herald published a more complete story, giving the recommendations. Nothing in the review directly applied to the Edmonton child's death in January 2007. For example the recommended six month foster care review would not have helped, because according the the Edmonton Journal (our archive), the boy in question died after only six weeks away from his parents. So what is the point of the study?
Alberta promises to fix foster care in wake of murder charge
EDMONTON - The Alberta government pledged Tuesday to change the way it recruits foster parents, following a special review of the system triggered by an Edmonton foster mother's second-degree murder charge in the death last year of her three-year-old foster son.
Although the review praised the province's overall system, it found problems with a foster-care program that has no ``probation'' system for first-time foster parents, was inconsistent in the way it assessed home suitability and somewhat arbitrarily made exceptions to the two-child and four-child limits in many foster homes.
Children and Youth Services Minister Janis Tarchuk announced that the government will follow all the panel's recommendations. It will create later this year an ``interim'' classification for the first six months of a foster home's operation, and reassess the home at the end of that probationary period. It will also draft consistent standards for evaluating prospective foster homes.
The province also pledges it will tighten its policies on placing more than two children in Level 1 foster homes, and four children with better-trained Level 2 foster parents.
The province will also strengthen oversight of other adult caregivers in a foster home, such as nannies.
Nothing in the review released today directly applied to the Edmonton child's death in January 2007, and any details of that case the review panel explored are being kept secret because of privacy laws.
In that incident, the boy was rushed to hospital with severe head trauma, and the 32-year-old single mother was charged with murder the following day after her foster son was taken off life support.
The mother had one other foster child in her care, as well as two of her own.
Earlier this year, a judge ordered that the woman stand trial. She is also charged with assault causing bodily harm, abandoning a child and failing to provide the necessities of life. Under her bail conditions, she cannot have any children in her care, and cannot have contact with the nanny she employed when the boy was fatally injured.
These new restrictions come at a time when Alberta faces a shortage of foster homes, after years of steady decline. The government will launch a major recruitment drive for new foster parents this fall.
Source: Calgary Herald