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Alberta Foster Death
May 1, 2010 permalink
In a story that repeats a pattern, a foster boy in Alberta is dead. He is of native origin, and died without a name. Since the press cannot identify him, only a picture of the responsible (or irresponsible) minister Yvonne Fritz accompanies the story. Her response comes from the script. If this case comes up again, we will use the case alias Paul Wabamun.
Teen dies in Alberta foster care
A teenaged Alberta boy has died in foster care, CBC News has learned.
Alberta's Children and Youth Services Minister Yvonne Fritz confirmed Friday that the RCMP are investigating the death of the teenager from the Paul First Nation, west of Edmonton near Lake Wabamun.
"What I can tell you is I can confirm we did have a 13-year-old foster child pass on earlier today," Fritz told CBC News.
In a statement issued late Friday, the RCMP said the boy was 14, and that he was pronounced dead at a house in the rural Spruce Grove area after EMS personnel were called.
Fritz added: "It was a young man who was in a very stable, loving foster home. And also my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young person because this is a very difficult time."
The boy's foster family is devastated by the loss, the minister said.
Fritz was not able to say why RCMP have been called in to investigate, nor how the boy died. The Mounties also did not state the cause of death, mentioning only that a coroner was assisting with the investigation.
Premier Ed Stelmach was unaware of the death when asked about it Friday afternoon.
"I'm not aware of it, but I'll certainly charge the minister to investigate," Stelmach said. "It is, what happened, a major concern because the children are in the custody of the government."
Addendum: The boy died during a sleepover. There will be no public inquiry into his death.
Foster child dies during sleepover
SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. - RCMP are now saying that a 13-year-old foster child was actually on a sleepover at a friend's house when he died.
The boy's death in Stony Plain, Alta., on Friday - the third Alberta child in foster care to have died in the last year - prompted calls from opposition politicians for an inquiry.
But Children's Services Minister Yvonne Fritz says this boy was in a "stable, loving home" for years.
She says the foster family is devastated by the boy's death and are grieving his loss.
Const. Barbara Roy says police are trying to figure out what the boy was doing before they received the call at 9 a.m. on Friday that he was in distress and was having trouble breathing.
She says as far as police know, he had been in bed asleep.
"We're trying to track back to see what he had been doing and speak to people that had been around him, see what was going on," said Roy.
Nonetheless, critics say the recent deaths have them very concerned about the system.
"Too many children have died in the so-called care and custody of the province," said Liberal MLA Harry Chase.
"If the government makes the major decision to pull them out of the custody of their birth parents, then they have to ensure their quality of life and that has not been the case."
Fritz said there will be no public inquiry.
"This situation is one that is very intimate with this family about what has happened with the loss of this young man," said Fritz.
The cause of death will be determined following an autopsy which is scheduled early next week.
RCMP say no arrests have been made and they have no suspects, adding they don't even know yet whether the death was the result of foul play or natural causes.
Addendum: The autopsy did not find a cause of death. After a delay of several months for the public to forget about the story, there will be a toxicology report.
Foster child's autopsy fails to reveal cause of death
An autopsy on a 13-year-old foster child who died in hospital after being found in distress at a friend's home Friday morning has failed to reveal a cause of death. RCMP say the autopsy did not reveal an injury and no natural cause was found.
Police did say the Medical Examiner's office will continue their investigation with toxicology results, which could take up to five months to complete.
Stony Plain RCMP confirmed to media Monday, a witness had observed the 13-year-old male voluntarily ingest something, but police have not identified what that is.
RCMP reported they were called to a home in Stony Plain at the request of Alberta Health Services around 9 a.m. Friday. Police arrived to find a 13-year-old male who appeared to be in distress.
"I don't believe it was the foster home," said Const. Barbara Roy. "I believe he was having a sleepover with friends when he became distressed."
The boy was taken to Stony Plain Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The teen cannot be identified under provincial law. The youth's biological father tells CTV News he was in shock when he heard about the death of his son. The man says he's had limited contact with the boy since he entered the foster care system six years ago.
"He was so smart, so funny," said the man.
The boy's family says he and his older brother had been living in the same foster home for close to a decade. A home the family describes as a loving and positive environment.
Along with the RCMP, the province is also investigating the events leading up to the boy's death.
"From our perspective what we do in a case like this is we would also review our file to ensure the supports and services provided to the young person were appropriate," said Trevor Coulombe, spokesperson for Alberta's Children and Youth Services.
The boy is the third foster child to die in Alberta in the past year.
The Alberta Liberals said the recent deaths have them very concerned about the system and are calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into the boy's death.
The Paul First Nation, where the boy once lived, is planning a private ceremony for the family Tuesday night. A funeral is being planned for Wednesday.
With files from Scott Roberts
Source: CTV Edmonton