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Cororner's Jury Sham

January 29, 2011 permalink

Saskatchewan conducted an inquest this week into the death of a child in foster care. Like other inquests into the death of a child, this was not an open inquiry to expose the facts so the body politic could craft solutions. Instead, it was carefully choreographed to produce the result desired by the convenors, and nothing else.

The name of the dead child? A secret, though before the inquest started we found that it was Ashton Pryde Gambler aka McKay, a three-year-old boy who died in Pense Saskatchewan on December 17, 2009. The jury deliberations? There were none. The recommendations came back on the final day of the inquest, clearly adopted without deliberation from suggestions offered by the lawyers. The last recommendation looks like a money grab by social services: foster families should receive extra fees if they have a ward with special needs.



Jury makes recommendations in foster care inquiry

Recommendations have been put forward on how to keep children safer in foster care. It follows a week long inquiry into what lead to the death of a three year old boy in December of 2009. After deliberating for several hours today, a jury made eight recommendations on how to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. Two have been amalgamated into one. The final draft of seven recommendations includes:

  1. more thorough safety checks in foster homes
  2. legal tender out jobs for foster care homes requiring extra services like handymen or cleaners
  3. provide for supports for foster families in rural settings
  4. closely monitor foster kids
  5. establish clear obligations for front line workers to ensure their concerns reach supervisors & foster parents should attend age-appropriate classes regarding their wards
  6. high-risk children should be placed in appropriate homes, especially those requiring specific medical treatment & all medical information should be shared with the foster parent as soon as the child enters their home
  7. foster families should receive extra fees if they have a ward with special needs

Some are very basic -- such as a blanket suggestion to closely monitor foster children, and to provide supports for foster families living in rural settings. A handful, however are specific to the boys case.

Earlier this week the forensic pathologist that conducted the autopsy testified the boy died of a severe case of pneumonia made even worse by a rare form of influenza. Te infection was found in both of his lungs, and his chest cavity was filled with puss. Se also said that had he been taken to the hospital, it's very likely he would not have died.

The boy’s foster father testified that the boy had been vomiting and running a temperature in the days leading up to his death, but they thought he was just suffering from the flu. He said because they only had one vehicle working at the time, they weren't able to take him to the doctor.

The purpose of the inquiry was not to assign blame, but to help hammer out preventive measures.

Source: Global Saskatoon