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Both Sides of Mouth
July 8, 2014 permalink
While the province of Alberta, through its minister Manmeet Bhullar, proclaims openness regarding deaths in provincial care, the concealment of foster deaths continues. A recent report says that thirty nine vulnerable children, including eight foster children, died in 2013-14, but gives no details. Since there are no names, the press cannot follow up with its own investigation.
Province releases few details about two dozen vulnerable children who died in 2013-14
Minister says information will be posted online
EDMONTON - The province revealed Monday that two dozen vulnerable children died and 10 more were seriously injured in 2013-14, but the annual report reveals almost no information about how or why they died.
The yearly report, published by Human Services, says the manner of death has yet to be determined in 17 cases of children who died after having come to the attention of the ministry.
Of the remaining seven cases, one was ruled a suicide, one was accidental, four were due to medical causes and one was undetermined — the term typically applied to babies who died while sleeping.
Of those who died, eight were in foster care, 13 were in parental care and three were over 18 and receiving services.
The ministry provided no further details about the deaths.
Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar said his ministry is in the process of collecting and publishing consolidated information about the deaths and injuries online, where it can be updated more frequently.
“Between the Child and Youth Advocate, the Medical Examiner, the department and the Quality Assurance Council, my expectation is that every death will be looked at, reviewed, and there will be findings out of each one,” Bhullar said.
“Right now you can get bits and pieces of information in a wide range of places,” he said, so he plans to publish the raw data, findings, recommendations and government responses in one place online.
“All of this information should be in one spot, and it should happen on a timely basis — not just annually,” he said.
In the annual report released Monday, the ministry also revealed 10 children known to the ministry were seriously injured in 2013-14.
Six of those children were in foster care: One was injured in a vehicle collision, one attempted suicide, two were stabbed in the community, one was assaulted by a caregiver and one was accidentally burned.
Three of the children were in parental care when they were injured: Two were injured in suspected assaults, and one suffered medical neglect.
The annual report comes seven months after the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald published the six-part Fatal Care series, which detailed in part the government’s dramatic under-reporting of deaths in care over the past decade.
Source: Edmonton Journal