EDMONTON, AB (November 25, 2013): The Wildrose Official Opposition is today calling for an emergency debate in the Alberta Legislature into the dozens of unreported deaths of children in provincial care revealed this morning.
An Edmonton Journal investigation today reveals that between 1999 and the present, a total of 145 children died while under the province’s care but only 56 of those were ever reported. The other 89 deaths went unreported. The investigation concludes that the child death review system is “blighted by secrecy, disorganization, weak oversight and unmonitored recommendations.” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said the investigation’s findings demand immediate action. “These truly disturbing revelations not only mean that something is seriously wrong with how vulnerable children are cared for in this province, but that there are major gaps in how incidents are being reported,” Smith said. “We must get to the bottom of what it is and begin the long process of fixing the system. If we aren’t reviewing these deaths and doing everything we can to learn from them, we are failing Albertans and risking the lives of vulnerable children.” The emergency debate motion reads as follows: “The need to immediately identify the actual number of deaths of children in care that have occurred since 1999, the implementation status of recommendations that have been made to prevent deaths in that time, the reasons for the secrecy surrounding this issue, and the steps that can be taken immediately to improve the protection of children currently in the care of the government.”