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Why No Inquiry?

September 27, 2010 permalink

Chris Martell, whose son died in Saskatchewan foster care, asks why there is no inquiry into the death of his son, or into the many other deaths in foster care. If such an inquiry is to have any positive result, it must deal not only with the mistakes of the foster mother, but also with the question of why the child was taken from the natural parents, and how he got placed in the fatal home.



Father of boy who died in Sask. foster care seeks inquiry

The father of a Saskatchewan boy who died while in foster care is urging the provincial government to launch an inquiry into the death of his son and others.
Photo Credit: Greg Pender, The StarPhoenix

REGINA - The father of a Saskatchewan boy who died while in foster care is urging the provincial government to launch an inquiry into the death of his son and others.

Before delivering a petition addressed to Saskatchewan's justice minister this week, Evander Daniel's father, Chris Martell, said he needs answers about what happened to his son.

An inquiry into the care of his son, as well as into the deaths of other children who have died while in the care of the province, could help prevent similar tragedies, he said.

"It's for changes in the foster-care system," said Martell, who was joined outside the provincial legislature Wednesday by a crowd of about 50 people.

"That's my goal, is to make sure another father or mother doesn't live through what I'm living through right now."

Martell's son, a 22-month-old living in a foster home in Aberdeen, Sask., died in June.

His foster mother faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and endangering the life of a child.

Social Services has said that in the first five months of 2010, 13 Saskatchewan children and youth have died while in the care of the province.

Three of the 13 were physically in the care of the government at the times of their deaths and eight had received government services but had never lived in a foster or group home. Six who died were "medically fragile," meaning they had a pre-existing medical condition.

Brenda Dubois with the Aboriginal Families Defense League wants an inquiry into social services practices, but said she is also looking forward to the release of final recommendations from a child-welfare review panel struck by the provincial government prior to Evander's death.

"It's supposed to have been focusing on solutions, so presumably at some point there's solutions," Dubois said.

Social Services Minister June Draude said she expects to get the panel's recommendations in the coming weeks, adding the government ordered "a more in-depth review than any other province has done."

"I really am putting a lot of faith in the work that they're going to be giving us to make sure that what we do into the future is based on knowledge of people who are working in that field," she said.

However, a public government inquiry into social services, such as the one the groups called for Wednesday, is not in the works, she said.

She noted there is already an internal review being done within ministry in the wake of Evander's death and the children's advocate will conduct his own investigation, in addition to the judicial proceedings.

The coroner can also decide whether to schedule an inquest after criminal charges are dealt with, the minister told reporters.

Source: Global TV Winnipeg