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Alberta Foster Death

April 2, 2009 permalink

Another baby has died in Alberta foster care. This time is is a thirteen-month-old native girl in Hobbema. As usual for Alberta, her name is suppressed. In future stories we will call her Girl Hobbema.



Baby dies in foster care on Alta. reserve

By Elise Stolte, Canwest News Service, April 1, 2009

EDMONTON — An Alberta family is looking for answers after a baby died of pneumonia in her foster mother’s home.

“We knew she was sick,” said the baby’s grandmother Wednesday. “If I had a chance, I would have grabbed her and taken her to the doctor myself.”

The 13-month-old girl from a reserve in Hobbema, Alta., about 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, died Saturday night, but can’t be identified under provincial legislation.

An autopsy Tuesday found nothing suspicious in the child’s death but toxicology results are pending, RCMP Cpl. Greg Crook said. Police were called to the home Saturday night and found paramedics trying to revive the child. She was later declared dead in hospital.

The police investigation remains open.

“It’s just a terrible set of circumstances,” Crook said.

The Kasohkowew Child Wellness Society, which handles foster care for Hobbema’s Samson Cree Nation, is also investigating.

Provincial officials will help review the case and determine if a special review is warranted, said Child and Youth Services spokesman Trevor Coulombe.

The grandmother said the child was taken in December, after her 23-year-old mother was sent to jail for a week for theft. Both the baby’s father and mother were granted occasional visiting privileges, and the father was supposed to regain custody April 8, she said.

The child had just learned to crawl and would smile when you called her name, she said.

She and the child’s mother saw her last on March 25, when they noticed the baby coughing.

“You could tell, it was bubbly or phlegmy when she coughed,” she said. The child had also lost weight. She was wearing sandals and had no blanket.

The foster mother lives less than two kilometres down a dirt road from the child’s family.

The child’s mother sent a letter to the foster mother, begging her to bring the child to the hospital, the grandmother said, but was only notified when she died several days later.

The family is planning a wake for the child Wednesday, and a funeral Friday.

The child’s family says it is speaking out because they are worried the case will be hushed up and forgotten.

“She was a beautiful baby,” the grandmother said.

“Our kids have been getting hurt and it’s scary. If you can’t trust your own community, who can you trust?”

Kasohkowew’s authority was temporarily revoked in 2002 after a string of child deaths. A review showed staff were badly overworked.

At the time of their deaths, all the children were either in Kasohkowew’s care or known to its child-protection workers. Two died in fires, one drowned in the bathtub at his Red Deer, Alta., foster home, another died from head injuries inflicted by a foster parent, one died from a cough syrup overdose, another by choking on a balloon, and a teenage girl hanged herself.

Around the world, pneumonia leads to the death of more than two million children each year, say 2006 figures from the United Nations.

Edmonton Journal

Source: Calgary Herald