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Hypocrisy in Alberta
August 26, 2011 permalink
Alberta has released a report on the death of fourteen-month-old Elizabeth Velasquez last year. The report determined non-accidental asphyxia as the cause, and there will soon be criminal charges. News channels are filled with the name and pictures of the dead girl. Anyone with normal human empathy feels sorry about the preventable death of this girl. Child and Youth Services Minister Yvonne Fritz held a tearful news conference which you can watch on YouTube or a local copy (flv). Alberta Child and Family Services will be speeding up child removal in future cases.
Meanwhile, the death of Delonna Victoria Sullivan is being buried. No consumers of Alberta news are permitted to know her name or see her picture. Only the efforts of her mother and grandmother have made her tragedy known on the internet. She was dead just six days after being seized in good health from her mother. The speed of this death, and reports from visitation while the girl was still alive, point to homicide by negligence.
Alberta is using the Valasquez case, and ignoring the Sullivan case, to start a foster care panic. Since the death rate in foster care is ten times that in the care of mother and father, this will only increase the number of deaths. But Albertans will not learn of them, except in the form of initials or a numeric footnote to a bureaucratic report. In the list of known Alberta foster deaths over the past eight years, many have been reduced to initials, recent ones have only a fixcas alias. Without names and pictures, there can be no empathy for these children, and no public outcry to stop the slaughter.
There is a press report on the speed-up in child removals below, including a heart-warming photo of the late Elizabeth Velasquez. Let's end with a question for Yvonne Fritz. Minister, where are your tears when your own actions lead to the death of a child?
Suspected child abuse cases fast-tracked
Children who are suspected to be victims of child abuse and needing urgent follow-up no longer have to wait very long to get it, says a medical official.
Dr. Francois Belanger, a veteran paediatric emergency doctor, said a study done between June and September 2010 identified an issue with waits for urgent referrals to the child abuse clinic, which is located across from the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Shortly after, efforts were made to shorten the wait, seeing it go from anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks to being made on same-day basis, he said Friday.
A report into the high-profile death of toddler Elizabeth Velasquez released by Child and Family Services this week looked into how child-welfare workers handled the case of the child and why concerns from police and her grandparents weren’t heeded.
The report found the 14-month-old waited more than a week to be referred to a specialist in the child abuse clinic — weeks before her May 2010 death which has since been deemed a homicide.
Belanger stressed the project to reduce wait times was not related to that case.
It does mean urgent cases where children who health-care workers suspect to be abused will be seen the same day.
Belanger who has worked with children in emergency since 1991, said it is not uncommon to see young children with fractures — and it’s ultimately not from abuse.
“It’s more than just the injury,” he said.
“The first step is to medically treat the child,” he said.
A referral to the child abuse clinic allows for “a further work up to make a diagnosis of child abuse,” he said.
There experts look at the bigger picture, beyond the injury, and at the child’s history and family history and other factors.
There they can do investigations which include skeletal surveys, including bone scans or, for instance, a CT scan if they suspect a head injury.
On average about 350 children carrying suspicions of child abuse are referred to the health-care system each year.
“Most are through the family physician through emergency, but could be school teacher or a neighbour,” Belanger said.
If child abuse is determined, police are called in to start investigations and child-welfare workers to look at child-care circumstances.
“Many lead to investigations,” he said.
“We can move extremely fast.”
He said reducing the wait times often optimizes the outcome, especially given immediate concerns which can include the child getting re-injured or risks for other children in the home.
“With any patient, there is peace of mind when they are seen in a timely manner from a care perspective,” he said
Source: Calgary Sun