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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.

  • A H, Stony Plain, seventeen years old, March 12 2003, suicide/hanging
  • A J (girl) P, Edmonton, fifteen years old, ca November 18 2003, drugs
  • D (boy) T, Drayton Valley, sixteen years old, January 13 2004, acute multiple drug toxicity
  • Kyle Young, Edmonton, sixteen years old, January 22 2004, fall in elevator shaft
  • M L (boy) A M, Standoff, six years old, November 13 2004, car crash
  • K C, Tsuu T’ina First Nation, sixteen years old, June 13 2005, suicide/hanging
  • Lloyd Stamp, Edmonton, November 18 1987 - September 29 2005, suicide/hit by truck
  • Caleb Jerome Merchant, Edmonton Alberta, thirteen months old, November 26 2005, battered
  • T U, Red Deer, sixteen years old, December 3 2005, hypothermia
  • D K L (girl) B, Gleichen, May 14 1990 - January 2 2006, suicide/hanging
  • Anthony Marino Gladue, Edmonton Alberta, seventeen years old, April 26 2006, hit by train
  • Samantha Lauren Martin, June 4 1993 - December 3 2006
  • C (girl) F, Alberta, child, March 11 2006, hanging
  • K P, child, January 1 2007, closed head injury
  • Alberta Kafka, three years old, January 27 2007, battered
  • A (girl) M, child, February 26 2007
  • M (girl) S, child, August 10 2007, infection
  • D W (boy) L, Calgary, eighteen months old, October 24 2007, strangled by blinds cord
  • K G, Peace River (area), child, November 18 2007, flipped ATV
  • A O, Edmonton (area), child, February 17 2008, gastroenteritis
  • J L, Stony Plain, March 10 2008 - April 16 2008, abandoned
  • J (girl) C aka Edmonton Toddler, Edmonton Alberta, three years old, January 13 2009, battered
  • Girl Hobbema, Hobbema, thirteen months old, March 28 2009, pneumonia
  • Edmonton Brawler, Edmonton, seventeen years old, April 24 2009, brawl
  • J B, child, September 27 2009, carbon monoxide
  • J B (second child), September 27 2009, carbon monoxide
  • Edmonton Niece, Edmonton, four years old, January 13 2010, cranial trauma
  • Calgary toddler (boy), Calgary, one year old, February 28 2010
  • Morinville girl, Morinville, twenty one months old, March 3 2010, shaken baby
  • Paul Wabamun (alias), Paul First Nation, fourteen years old, April 30 2010
  • Medicine Girl, Medicine Hat Alberta, eighteen months old, July 21 2010, head injuries
  • SunGirl, Sunchild First Nation Alberta, fifteen years old, March 4 2011, rape/murder
  • Delonna Victoria Sullivan, Warburg Alberta, November 23 2010 - April 11 2011

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

Elizabeth Velasquez
Elizabeth Velasquez was fatally abused, say police.

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