Fatal Care: about the series
- Category: Child abuse industry deaths in Canada
- Created: Thursday, 11 April 2013 16:27
- Written by Karen Kleiss - Edmonton Journal & Darcy Henton - Calgary Herald
In 2009, the Edmonton Journal asked the government of Alberta how many children had died in its care that year. The government couldn’t provide a number, nor could it answer other questions about foster care deaths. It was not new; reporters had been having trouble getting this information for years. So, the Journal put in a request to see all internal government reports related to the deaths of children in care from 1999 to 2009. The government declined, citing privacy issues. But in June 2013, after a four-year legal battle, Alberta’s access to information commission forced the government to release information on each child that had died in its care between 1999 and 2013.
Together, reporters Karen Kleiss of the Journal and Darcy Henton of the Calgary Herald mounted a six-month investigation, reviewing more than 3,000 pages of internal death records, along with fatality inquiry reports, lawsuit files and government reports, and interviewing parents of deceased children, experts and advocates, politicians and bureaucrats.
Their exhaustive analysis provides Albertans their first comprehensive look at how — and why — many foster children have died. This six-part series is the result of their investigation.
Part One: The investigation (publication date: Nov. 25, 2013)
Between Jan. 1, 1999, and June 8, 2013, 145 children have died in foster care in Alberta, nearly triple the number previously released in government annual reports.
Part Two: The trends (publication date: Nov. 26, 2013)
One in three of the children who die in care are babies; three out of four of them are aboriginal. Yet the government doesn’t track — or react — to these types of trends.
Part Three: The oversight (publication date: Nov. 27, 2013)
The province’s convoluted child death investigation involves dozens of people operating under several different laws and policies. They don’t share information, there’s no clear process for an investigation, and recommendations are not binding, nor tracked or reviewed.
Part Four: The secrecy (publication date: Nov. 28, 2013)
A restrictive publication ban, which prevents even grieving families from saying the names of their deceased children in public, shrouds the child welfare system in secrecy, preventing public scrutiny and reducing government accountability.
Part Five: The fallout (publication date: Nov. 29, 2013)
The death of a child in care takes a toll on a number of people, from the biological parents who often file lawsuits against the government, to the foster parents and caseworkers, many of whom find themselves the target of blame.
Part Six: The solutions (publication date: Nov. 30, 2013)
What needs to be done to make Alberta’s child welfare system better? There are key steps the government can take immediately to make a difference.
To read all the parts of the series, plus watch videos, download documents and search the database, go to edmontonjournal.com/fatalcare.