Sunday, December 11, 2016

because you had the courage-----------Hancock said he’s confident many problems with the system have been righted since Samantha’s death. “We’re working more collaboratively than we did in the past, so the child is not on their own,” he said.

because you spoke
I became a bit more brave
and said a few words
I didn't want to stick my neck out
but how could I leave you
beside the side of the road
waving a placard? how could I see Samantha
and not say a few words?


because you spoke
I rose out of the apathy
of strangers
and let my heart take over
I let the soul stretch
I let the  mind collapse its cities
I let intuition lead the way out of hesitation
how could I see Samantha    and not say a few words?


because you spoke
because I recognized you
I could not let you go alone
because you turned away from the complicit silence
because you said no more silence
because you gave up your family's privacy
I also spoke for my handicapped sister
because you showed me the way    because you had the courage   I learned the same bravery



http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/11/02/judge-raises-questions-about-alberta-girls-death-in-fatality-inquiry

Judge raises questions about Alberta girl's death in fatality inquiry


BY JACKIE L. LARSON, EDMONTON SUN
FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 02, 2012 06:43 PM CDT | UPDATED: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2012 06:53 AM CDT
Samantha MartinVelvet Martin holds a photo of her daughter Samantha Martin outside the Courthouse in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday, January 17 2011. She has finally gotten an inquiry into the death of Samantha who died after being in foster care on December 3 2006. The Martins say the photo shows bruising on Samantha's face after she was returned to them from foster care.
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When 13-year-old Samantha Martin died, there were more questions than answers.
But a new report that says she died from natural causes brings recommendations from a judge to make sure tragedy isn’t repeated in Alberta.
A rare genetic disorder called Tetrasomy 18p left Samantha mentally and physically disabled, but her death after a life spent at a foster home touted as the answer for her grieving parents raised questions about deficiencies in the Children’s Services system. That’s according to Judge Marilena Carminati, the provincial court judge conducting the public fatality inquiry for Justice Minister Jonathan Denis.
Carminati found that while there was no link between numerous fractures, bruises and low growth and weight Samantha suffered, there wasn’t any link to her genetic condition either. Carminati said she didn’t find expert evidence that Samantha’s genetic condition caused her death.
But the judge also found Children’s Services didn’t connect the dots on Samantha’s health issues, even though complaints had been lodged by school officials. A social worker appeared to be “ill-informed” about the girl’s needs, she said.
There was a three-year gap between doctors visits in the girl’s medical history, and medical procedures recommended by a physician – including an EEG to check for seizures – were not followed up, Carminati said.
Her worker testified that although she was required to visit the girl every three months, over a two-year stretch she saw Samantha just three times.
Carminati’s report urges changes at Children’s Services.
The agency should ensure caseworkers who work with a foster child have accurate and up to date information from a reliable medical source about the child’s disability and the impact of that disability on the health, weight and fragility of the child.
“This needs to be well understood in order for the worker to make informed assessments about how the child is doing in care, especially in the case of a nonverbal child who cannot communicate concerns with the child’s worker,” Carminati wrote.
The agency’s policies should be enhanced to ensure children are actually receiving their annual medical checkups, including a diary system so the issue isn’t overlooked.
Once a recommendation is made from a school or some other reliable assessor, a doctor should examine the child and follow-up should by done by the agency, “including required entry by the Children’s Services child care worker or other support staff … into a diary system,” she wrote.
Caseworkers should have a “reasonable” case load so they have time to document and follow up on the child’s medical needs, Carminati found.
Human Services Minister Dave Hancock said lessons learned from the brief life of Samantha Martin have included a much stronger provincial support system for families with children with disabilities.
A quality review council and new structures in place for children with disabilities focus on communication where there may have once been failures to connect the dots, he said.
Hancock said he’s confident many problems with the system have been righted since Samantha’s death.

“We’re working more collaboratively than we did in the past, so the child is not on their own,” he said.

'More children are going to get hurt,' province warned on eve of review

Head of most recent child-in-care review says province needs to act rather than begin another study

Ann Sullivan · CBC NewsDecember 9, 2016
serenty
The death of four-year-old Serenty has sparked another review of Alberta's child intervention system. (supplied)
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The man who led Alberta's last task force on children who die in provincial care says more kids are going to get hurt while the government conducts yet another review of the children-in-care system.
"It's pretty frustrating to hear that this is the exact same process that the previous Conservative government went through about two years ago," said Tim Richter who chaired the Alberta Child Implementation Oversight Committee in 2014.
"It's really about implementing the recommendations that have been made.
Tim Richter
Tim Richter led the most recent review of the children-in-care system in Alberta. (CBC)
"I'm just frustrated with the delay. More children are going to get hurt before the government takes the action necessary to keep them safe."
On Thursday, Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir, amid calls for his resignation, gave more details about an all-party panel that will review the child intervention system.
The panel has short term and longer term deadlines to report back with recommendations on how to improve the system, culminating in a report to be tabled in the legislature by the minister in the spring.
It will be the seventh review involving childrens' services in eight years.
The last six covered foster care, kinship care and a review of investigations and reporting of deaths and serious injuries.

Preventing similar incidents

Sabir announced the panel in the legislature while answering questions from Wildrose Leader Brian Jean about Serenity, a four-year-old Indigenous girl who died in kinship care two years ago.
"The premier has asked me to establish a committee that will include members from across the aisle that will look into this issue and will make sure there are enough safeguards in place that we can prevent similar incidents from happening," Sabir said.
Serenity was emaciated and badly bruised when she died from a brain injury. Medical records documented injuries that suggested the young girl had been sexually assaulted.
She died in 2014.
That same year then Conservative Human Services Minister, Manmeet Bhullar, asked Richter, to lead the deaths-in-care committee.
It came up with dozens of recommendations. Richter said the NDP, who were then in opposition, felt the committee hadn't gone far enough.
"Now we've had a controversy erupt and the [NDP] minister, the government, seems to be kicking the can down the road," he said.
Richter says rather than another panel, the government should implement recommendations made in previous reviews.
"We don't need to be going over this ground again" he said. "It's highly unlikely that a new panel is going to come up with anything that a dozen previous panels, or reviews or sets of recommendations haven't already come up with."
Richter says the first change the province should make is to have the office of the medical examiner review the death of every child who dies in care.

Seven reviews in eight years


  • Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention 2016
  • Implementation Oversight Committee 2014
  • Ministerial Roundtable: Investigations and Reporting of Deaths and Serious Injuries  2014
  • External Expert Panel following death of a child 2011
  • Child Intervention System Review  2010
  • Kinship Care Review  2009
  • Foster Care Review 2008


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The Book Of Love - Martin Kerr (Cover) Live at the Citadel Theatre 





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Velvet Martin 💝 I was blessed to be a recipient a previous year.

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10TH ANNUAL HUMAN RIGHTS AWARDS: AN EVENT THAT RECOGNIZES LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS HEROES

December 5, 2016
Edmonton, December 1, 2016 − The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights invites the media to join them for their 10th Annual Human Rights Awards and the launch of Ignite Change 2017: A Global Gathering for Human Rights on December 11th, 2016, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM at the ATB Financial Arts Barn (10330 84 Ave NW).
Held in commemoration of International Human Rights Day, these awards are meant to recognize those in our community who are actively promoting, fulfilling, protecting or educating on human rights, and making our communities a place where all belong, are included and able to participate. Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Mdm. Marie-Claude Landry, Ad.E. will be the event’s guest and keynote speaker.
Every year awards are given out to recipients, who are local human rights champions who are building Edmonton as a human rights city. This year however we will be awarding our first winner from outside of Edmonton in our efforts to recognize Albertans making an impact. This is followed by the Gerald L. Gall Award for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and has demonstrated excellence in the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.
Renée Laporte, a Human Rights Champion recipient in 2015, explains what the award means to her,  “When you are an advocate, you face stigma and discrimination. You feel the hate marginalized communities face, and that drives you to work harder to see them have their rights upheld.” She was recognised for her work of over a decade as an educational assistant, inclusion innovator and pioneer in fostering high risk young women.
This year’s awards recipients are
Robert P. Lee
              Gerald L. Gall Award 2016
Paula Kirman
              Human Rights Champion 2016
Ruth Adria
              Human Rights Champion 2016
Kristina De Guzman
              Human Rights Champion 2016
Roy Pogorzelski
              Human Rights Champion 2016
The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights envisions a world that manifests a culture of peace and human rights in which the dignity of every person is respected, valued and celebrated.  We work to advance a culture of peace and human rights through educational programs and activities, community collaboration and relationship building guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For additional information, contact:
Tisha Raj
Project and Communications Coordinator
John Humphrey Centre for Peace & Human Rights
Contact: 780.235.2961 or tisha@jhcentre.org



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Our amazing human rights champions! Congratulations!!!




















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