January 22, 2014
Minister must implement recommendations from investigation into foster death
EDMONTON, AB (January 22, 2014): If Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar wants to show he is committed to changing how we deliver childrens’ services, then he must commit to accepting and implementing recommendations from the Child and Youth Advocate investigative review, Wildrose Human Services Critic Kerry Towle said today.
The review centres on the death of a 7-year-boy, ‘Jack’, who drowned while under government care and supervision. The report identified five recommendations for the Human Services ministry. Recommendations outline excessive court delays in the system and how the province is failing to ensure lessons to improve are being learned province wide. In another recommendation, the Advocate once again emphasized how vital permanent, stable relationships are for children in care. “The tragedy of this loss highlights the importance for the government to not let this young boy’s life pass in vain,” Towle said. “We have seen in the past this government receive these reports and fail to respond to recommendations for our children in care. This minister has an opportunity to make a commitment to Albertans and ensure this does not happen again.” An investigative series by the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald revealed how the PC government has failed to implement a system that tracked or even monitored the implementation of recommendations from past reports. “We cannot continue to let report after report show where ballooning gaps exist in service delivery and then not have the will to fix the problems that exist,” Towle said. “We hope the story of Jack will finally change that.”