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Delonna Victoria Sullivan R.I.P.
August 7, 2011 permalink
When a four-month-old baby died six days after social workers took her from her mother in Warburg Alberta the names of the family were concealed and it was not possible to memorialize them properly. Owing to the efforts of the mother and grandmother, we can say that the late girl is Delonna Victoria Sullivan, her mother is Jamie Delonn Sullivan and her grandmother is Marilyn Koren. The mother and grandmother are traveling with the Protecting Canadian Children bus tour. An article on a rally in Leduc Alberta on July 15 is below, there are also videos, one on the Leduc rally (flv) and one made in Beamsville on August 4 (flv). Following the newspaper article is an epitaph for Delonna in the form of a blog post by her mother.
Grandmother questions foster care death by holding Leduc protest
A Warburg area woman isn't giving up on her granddaughter's memory and is leading a charge to look into Alberta's foster care deaths.
The women took to Leduc's main street to protest in front of the Alberta Family and Child Services office Friday, July 15, with around a dozen supporters and hundreds of signs, some of which read "stop killing our children" "work with families not against them" and "Secrets? What are you hiding and covering up?"
"On April 5, a social worker from this office went to my daughter's place to apprehend her roommate's (two) children," the grandmother explained, speaking in front of the Leduc office. "As an afterthought they apprehended my daughter's baby, and refused to let any family member take that baby and just stuck her in a foster home on the south side of Edmonton."
An affidavit signed by a social worker two days later, on April 7, claimed that the child needed to be removed as "the infant has been subjected to disharmony in the home and the child is left with inexperienced babysitters" and her mother "appears to suffer from an alcohol addiction."
On April 8, the grandmother visited the baby at the foster parent's house with her daughter. She said that they were distressed by what they saw.
"She had poop on the side of her bum from not being cleaned up properly previously. She had such a diaper rash it was disgusting," she said.
"I asked (the foster parent) how long she had diarrhea. When we saw her on Friday she had diarrhea for three days. And I asked if she had taken her to a doctor and (the foster parent) said 'no, if she's not better by Monday I'll make an appointment.' Monday she died. She let that baby lay there and suffer for five days without taking her for any sort of medical attention."
The grandmother referred to the child's foster care situation as "complete total neglect" and the situation that lead to her granddaughter's death as "a complete and total abuse of power and authority."
"The baby passed away a quarter after four that afternoon, my daughter wasn't notified till 10 that night. It's inexcusable," she said. "We have absolutely nothing. No answers. They suspect the baby died from dehydration."
Former foster parent Cathy Evarts attended the gathering and voiced her support for the protesters, who exchanged stories of the deficiencies they see in Alberta's foster care. She described Alberta's foster parent system as "very dysfunctional" and set up in order to have a child's biological parents fail.
"What I saw and witnessed was families not being supported for reunification, what I see is families getting set up to fail," Evarts said. "Family visits are not set up to be supportive, and all the while these are marks against them so they can go to court and say that these families don't deserve their children."
Children and Youth Services spokesperson John Tuckwell countered claims from the protesters that the Alberta government is less then forthcoming with information about deaths in foster care.
"We report all deaths and serious injuries in our annual report. We do refer those. We provide that information to the medical examiner and the medical examiner provides his findings to the Alberta fatality review board if a death is anything other then clearly natural causes, if there is anything suspicious, if there is a criminal investigation going on," Tuckwell said, adding that he doesn't yet know if the Warburg area baby's death in April was due to anything other than natural causes. "We're waiting for the results of the medical examiners report."
Was the grandmother correct in alleging that the child was neglected in foster care?
"We don't know. That's up to the medical examiner to determine that," Tuckwell said. "The cause of death will be released publicly."
The grandmother claimed that she had called the constituency office of Drayton Valley – Calmar MLA Diana McQueen, and had been told that the social worker involved with removing her granddaughter and placing her in foster care has had multiple complaints raised about her "overstepping her boundaries and protocol."
Reached in Warburg, the grandmother confirmed her earlier assertion at the protest, and added that she had been told the social worker's "power has gone to her head and she thinks she's God."
McQueen said that she hadn't spoken to the grandmother at all, but said the grandmother did call her constituency office manager and was referred to the ministry. Her constituency assistant confirmed that she had spoken to the grandmother, but disagreed with her recollection of the call.
She said that she doesn't know who the social worker is, and said that she can't make any comment on receiving other concerns about a social worker.
"All I said to her is that we get calls from the area, from people over many different issues regarding many different departments and whatever, not to name names or point fingers at any particular person or party," explained constituency assistant Barb Brown.
Source: Leduc Rep
Alberta's Stolen Angels
My little girl is my whole world. Little Delonna Victoria Sullivan had a smile that could melt your heart, and she was always smiling. She was such a happy little angel until social services came to illegally rip her away from her mothers arms at 4 1/2 months. They came for my roomates children and took my baby as well on a whim. Gloria Mapplebeck and Deena Farley of the Leduc social services building, took my baby and killed her because they didn't like my attitude. Show me a loving parent that doesn't when you are taking their child. Attitude is not a crime. Killing my child was, and I will see that they get every punishment they deserve. Along with the foster parent Michelle, who sat there and let my baby Delonna suffer and die. I just hope the people I named are smart enough not to show their face around me or I am not responsible for my actions. Parents out there should know that if social services shows up to take your child with no paperwork, DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR CHILD IT IS ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO DO SO. Parents have rights. I know if only i had known my daughter would still be alive today. Total abuse of power, authority, and negligence is what killed my baby.
Mother to Delonna Victoria Sullivan
Jamie Delonn Sullivan
Source: Jamie Sullivan blog