Friday, December 9, 2016

--“I’ll be honest, at first I thought it was OK because I was spending nights out there and I was visiting my kids,” Jenny told Global News Wednesday evening. But soon after, she said she became concerned. “I basically noticed that my kids were getting skinny and losing weight. Then they started having bruises on them,” she said, “Then I was basically like, ‘Maybe this is not a good idea.’ I went back to child welfare and showed them videos and pictures… they completely ignored me and told me that my kids were fine.” Jenny said she wants to see kinship care homes more frequently visited by social workers and for the system to take allegations of abuse more seriously.------------Julie Ali · University of Alberta The child welfare and continuing care industries in Alberta have major problems in Alberta. Both systems deal with vulnerable citizens. In the child welfare system children may be removed from famiies without cause but on suspicion of abuse. A recent case in BC indicates that the state can remove a child just because it can. http://www.vancouverobserver.com/.../bc-boy-mysterious... In this particular case, no sort of credible medical investigation seems to have been done; why for example was the child not tested for the genetic disorders that he is currently being tested for? This family was abused by the system for no particular reason that I can determine when proper medical investigation would have solved the issue. In the case of Serenity, the mother provided video and photographic evidence of abuse. She spoke to them about the weight loss of the children and the bruises she found. Why was there no sort of proper investigation? The lack of proper investigation is not limited to the child welfare system. In the first abuse case with the parents from BC I believe the only reason the children were returned to the parents was because the so called abused boy had bones break while in the care of the government of BC. http://www.ctvnews.ca/.../b-c-boy-who-suffers-from... Court documents say that on Nov. 30, BC Children's Hospital informed the ministry they had found evidence of the boy's bones deteriorating with microfractures during the four weeks he had been in foster care in Vancouver. The boy suffers from a rare genetic disorder, which is the reason for his history of recurring bone fractures, and the breaks are not the result of abuse, the documents say. ***** Failure by the government of BC to do its due diligence in this case represents a liability problem for the province. The parents are traumatised and the family was destabilized. Why didn't doctors do the investigation while the child was with his parents rather than in foster care? It's a good question. I suspect that the economic and racial stereotypes held by the system impeded good medical care provision. In the case of Serenity, why weren't the mother's allegations followed up with medical investigation and review of the foster home, direct interviewing of the children and other community members? Again it appears that investigation was not properly done and certainly it is worrisome that a kinship placement that has been tagged as being abusive by the birth mother as well as other complaints was not being followed closely. Serenity had no visits by ministry staff in 11 months. Is this typical for such placements? Just like the cases of the children in the child welfare system there is no interest in investigation in the continuing care system in Alberta. My handicapped sister was abused in long term care as determined by two PPIC reports by Alberta Health. I complained over years about the problems my sister experienced. Three health ministers--Mr. Horne, Mr. Mandel and Ms Hoffman passed the buck to AHS and Covenant Health. These entities do nothing in terms of investigation in my opinion. The audits are poor. The respiratory review I requested has not been provided to our family. Doctors who we approached for help at the Grey Nuns Hospital were putting Do Not Resuscitate orders on my sister's file for five years. And yet now, out of the facility and in a lower level of care, my sister is not going to the hospital emergency. So what is the point of government investigations? It's just a waste of cash, time and effort by all concerned. In the end what really is required is a change in the culture of the GOA. We aren't getting value for our tax dollars. Employees seem to think they are our employers. We get dead children and abused/ dead seniors that no one in the public hears about due to secrecy, silencing and retribution. Just try talking about abuse in the continuing care system and the made by the PCs Trespass to Premises legislation which was made without an appeal process can be used against you with the full agreement of both the PC and NDP folks in government. The use of this legislation enables continuing care and health authorities to control the public discourse about abuse, adverse events and deaths. It's been used to ban advocates such as Shauna McHarg from seeing family members. Ruth Adria who is receiving a Human Rights Award from the John Humphrey Centre in Edmonton, has been handcuffed, escorted off premises and fined for her work advocating for our most vulnerable seniors and handicapped seniors. It is outrageous that a helpless woman like Ruth would be treated in this horrific manner for no other reason than she was helping abused and harmed seniors in care. The PCs were fully aware of the problems in the system as are the NDPCs. And yet no one takes action in the GOA. 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December 7, 2016 11:39 pm
Updated: December 8, 2016 12:57 pm

Mother of 4-year-old Alberta girl who died in kinship care speaks out: ‘They completely ignored me’

CroppedPhilResizedBy Phil HeidenreichOnline journalist Global News
WATCH ABOVE: The case of a four-year-old girl who died while in the care of a family member through Alberta's kinship care program, first became public following a report from the Child and Youth Advocate's office. Now, the mother of the girl who died is speaking out about the tragedy and calling for systemic changes to prevent a recurrence. Sarah Kraus reports.
- A A +
The mother of a four-year-old girl who died in kinship care spoke out on Wednesday about the case that triggered an emergency debate in the Alberta legislature and raised serious questions about how Alberta manages the treatment of children in government care.
The mother of the late girl cannot be identified to protect the identity of Serenity’s siblings, who were also in kinship care and so will be referred to as Jenny.
Jenny said her children, including her daughter known only as Serenity, were taken away from her after she was assaulted by Serenity’s father. According to Jenny, Serenity and her two older siblings were put in the care of a family member on a central Alberta reserve under the kinship care program.
She alleged the social worker who was assigned to her file suggested if she didn’t put her children in the care of her family member, they would adopt her children out separately and she may never see them again.
Serenity’s case emerged publicly last month when Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate called for better safeguards in kinship placements after the girl died in 2014. A report found her to be malnourished, bruised, and severely underweight girl at the time of her death and later, an Edmonton Journal report said detailed medical records that were denied to the Child and Youth Advocate, found Serenity’s body also showed signs of physical and sexual abuse and that she had suffered a massive brain injury.
“I’ll be honest, at first I thought it was OK because I was spending nights out there and I was visiting my kids,” Jenny told Global News Wednesday evening. But soon after, she said she became concerned.
“I basically noticed that my kids were getting skinny and losing weight. Then they started having bruises on them,” she said,
“Then I was basically like, ‘Maybe this is not a good idea.’ I went back to child welfare and showed them videos and pictures… they completely ignored me and told me that my kids were fine.”
Jenny said she wants to see kinship care homes more frequently visited by social workers and for the system to take allegations of abuse more seriously.
Last week, the Alberta government announced it was forming an all-party committee to explore the circumstances surrounding Serenity’s death.
“It’s good to see that they’re trying to do things to prevent this happening again,” Jenny said. “But that doesn’t bring justice to my daughter.”
After her massive brain injury, Serenity was put on life support and died soon after.
Her guardians said she fell off a swing.
A criminal investigation into Serenity’s death is ongoing. Jenny said she is upset that to date, no charges have been laid.
Jenny told Global News the day Serenity died “was the worst day of my life.”
She said she regained custody of Serenity’s siblings three years ago.
Jenny explained she thinks many social workers and kinship care homes do a good job of caring for children – just not the ones that were assigned to her family when Serenity died.
-with files from Sarah Kraus and The Canadian Press.
Watch below: A rare emergency debate was called in the Alberta Legislature on Nov. 21, 2016. MLAs discussed how to protect children in the care of the government. Sarah Kraus has more and explains what sparked the debate.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



Julie Ali ·
The child welfare and continuing care industries in Alberta have major problems in Alberta. Both systems deal with vulnerable citizens.
In the child welfare system children may be removed from famiies without cause but on suspicion of abuse. A recent case in BC indicates that the state can remove a child just because it can. http://www.vancouverobserver.com/.../bc-boy-mysterious...
In this particular case, no sort of credible medical investigation seems to have been done; why for example was the child not tested for the genetic disorders that he is currently being tested for?
This family was abused by the system for no particular reason that I can determine when proper medical investigation would have solved the issue.

In the case of Serenity, the mother provided video and photographic evidence of abuse. She spoke to them about the weight loss of the children and the bruises she found. Why was there no sort of proper investigation?

The lack of proper investigation is not limited to the child welfare system. In the first abuse case with the parents from BC I believe the only reason the children were returned to the parents was because the so called abused boy had bones break while in the care of the government of BC.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/.../b-c-boy-who-suffers-from...
Court documents say that on Nov. 30, BC Children's Hospital informed the ministry they had found evidence of the boy's bones deteriorating with microfractures during the four weeks he had been in foster care in Vancouver.
The boy suffers from a rare genetic disorder, which is the reason for his history of recurring bone fractures, and the breaks are not the result of abuse, the documents say.
*****
Failure by the government of BC to do its due diligence in this case represents a liability problem for the province. The parents are traumatised and the family was destabilized. Why didn't doctors do the investigation while the child was with his parents rather than in foster care? It's a good question. I suspect that the economic and racial stereotypes held by the system impeded good medical care provision.

In the case of Serenity, why weren't the mother's allegations followed up with medical investigation and review of the foster home, direct interviewing of the children and other community members? Again it appears that investigation was not properly done and certainly it is worrisome that a kinship placement that has been tagged as being abusive by the birth mother as well as other complaints was not being followed closely. Serenity had no visits by ministry staff in 11 months. Is this typical for such placements?

Just like the cases of the children in the child welfare system there is no interest in investigation in the continuing care system in Alberta. My handicapped sister was abused in long term care as determined by two PPIC reports by Alberta Health. I complained over years about the problems my sister experienced. Three health ministers--Mr. Horne, Mr. Mandel and Ms Hoffman passed the buck to AHS and Covenant Health. These entities do nothing in terms of investigation in my opinion. The audits are poor. The respiratory review I requested has not been provided to our family. Doctors who we approached for help at the Grey Nuns Hospital were putting Do Not Resuscitate orders on my sister's file for five years. And yet now, out of the facility and in a lower level of care, my sister is not going to the hospital emergency. So what is the point of government investigations? It's just a waste of cash, time and effort by all concerned. In the end what really is required is a change in the culture of the GOA.

We aren't getting value for our tax dollars. Employees seem to think they are our employers. We get dead children and abused/ dead seniors that no one in the public hears about due to secrecy, silencing and retribution. Just try talking about abuse in the continuing care system and the made by the PCs Trespass to Premises legislation which was made without an appeal process can be used against you with the full agreement of both the PC and NDP folks in government. The use of this legislation enables continuing care and health authorities to control the public discourse about abuse, adverse events and deaths. It's been used to ban advocates such as Shauna McHarg from seeing family members. Ruth Adria who is receiving a Human Rights Award from the John Humphrey Centre in Edmonton, has been handcuffed, escorted off premises and fined for her work advocating for our most vulnerable seniors and handicapped seniors. It is outrageous that a helpless woman like Ruth would be treated in this horrific manner for no other reason than she was helping abused and harmed seniors in care. The PCs were fully aware of the problems in the system as are the NDPCs. And yet no one takes action in the GOA.
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Lyndsey Knott ·
I was a kinship care provider, i cared for my nephew like my own son. It was a struggle to get any help from the workers asigned or from the mother. They were rarely around and when i asked for help, i was treated like i couldnt handle the responsibility of my kid. Total disrepect from both parties, but my nephew would of never known. He left my care after there was a bump on his head, i was then investigated for child abuse, later found out that he had AHS and that it was a growth, but they were sure quick to cast me as a villian and remove him, utter garbage. I lost faith in the current system, as a kinship provider and former youth worker in group homes. Good luck for those dealing with the failing system now, stay strong and dont let them win.
UnlikeReply213 hrs
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
More valuable feedback. Good to see the situation from different viewpoints.
UnlikeReply111 hrs
Trena Soosay ·
So many things wrong with children services and they just take children with threats and make them sign agreement without explaining them their rights. I always tell people out here you have rights don't sign anything you can get legal assistants. That's so true about our first nations leaders alot are greedy and don't care for nobody as long as money comes in for their pockets. They get more money when they have more children in care. Children die or come home sick, there's so much more I want to share but who would listen.
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Trena: You need to speak out on these issues. Your viewpoint would probably provide some valuable insight to what is happening on reserves today. People are starting to doubt the existing 'politically correct' viewpoint that has been promoted to date.
LikeReply114 hrs
Kim Kelly
From a personal experience I can say they are a bunch of unorganized bullies, I have all the paperwork to prove it including threating to open a file on me for working with and staying with my husband yet they say their mandate is too keep families together!! and it's interesting turn of events as child services now have closed the file like a hot potato, when the "adult they chose for kinship" they never once followed up on all the " coming back to check" plus allowing the mother who wasn't suppose to be living in the same premises as the tween child but they allowed her to share a bedroom with him, but now as court has gone on and both the kinship and mother has made complete fools of them and never did follow through on what child services said they would they dropped it, even after knowing the mom had a dui and smelled of booze during their interview with her and then watched her buy booze and get in her car and drive away ( cuz child services went on and on about how great they were and the mother was "working on getting help for both her mental health and addiction, even went as far when custody was given back to dad to console the mother and kinship) it's a bloody joke!!! And again I have all the paperwork to prove everything I just wrote! Maybe a class action law suite should be put on them, they are not their to protect the children or keep families together they are bullies with thier own agenda and yes south Calgary family protection services this is about you!!! You have made a mockery of the system!
LikeReply1Dec 8, 2016 5:32pm
Jim Bathie ·
You're ramblling. I've read your post twice and I just can't figure out what you're trying to say.
LikeReply2Dec 8, 2016 5:53pm
Arlene Clark ·
It is frustrating when time, energy and money is focused on the missing aboriginal women, when the possible environments for the problems they were enduring have a lack of funds to address issues and futures that children are experiencing now?

Why is retribution more focused on than prevention?

Change the environment so women and children do not become victimized by the lifestyle the majority of the missing women fell prey to.
LikeReply3Dec 8, 2016 3:27pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
There is no lack of funds here. Just misallocation. These 'First Nations' leaders squander hundreds of millions of dollars annually yet cannot provide basics for their 'citizens' like safe water, education or protection.
Unfortunately we're dealing here with people who only understand carrot and stick methods. Punishment must be dealt or they just ignore the whole process. Reason just doesn't come into the picture.
LikeReply2Dec 8, 2016 4:44pm
Jim Bathie ·
Dave Barlass FN leaders love the cash cow they lovingly call the Federal Government. They don't want anything changed for the better. If there is improvment their profits (what they call funding) go down.

Best for them to keep people unhappy, children taken from their families and more missing women. That's what keeps the money flowing.

Plus the biggest reason FN women are being murdered are their romantic partners. They account for about 70% of their deaths. So telling the men to respect their women would solve 3/4 of their problems. Most leaders are men, so they're not about to lose any grip on control.
LikeReply1Dec 8, 2016 5:58pm
Laura MacRae ·
Not good enough. These issues have been studied to death. " Recommmendations have been accepted. Over 70 kids are dead. It's time to assign blame and that starts with the Minister. This is shameful and all Albertans must demand a real response, with real accountability.
LikeReply7Dec 8, 2016 12:40pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Blame starts first with the parents- start charging and jailing them. Then the useless civil servants who run the program- the individuals responsible in this case should be kicked out the door and their supervisors placed on notice. (I'd like to see CUPE defend these people). Then step in and disband the tribal council that allows this to happen. Where were they during all this? Probably off molesting somebody else.
LikeReply3Dec 8, 2016 1:16pm
Hoby Joe
Dave Barlass First of all this isn't just a First Nations problem. Jailing the parents will still leave children without a parent and into the "care" of the Ministry.
LikeReplyDec 8, 2016 3:55pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Hoby Joe: Nope. The other option discussed was having the children adopted. The mother objected to that. This story is about an indigenous kid and the people around her. Unfortunately these sort of problems are rampant on reserves.
LikeReply1Dec 8, 2016 4:34pm
Jim Bathie ·
Dave Barlass Yes, very true, but that's the elephant in the room we're not allowed to discuss. We're only allowed to talk about giving more money to make it stop.
LikeReply1Dec 8, 2016 6:00pm
Brian Cowan ·
Hoby Joe your right this isn't just a First Nation problem. My ex took my daughter and left the province with her. Had I done that it would be abduction. The RCMP refused to act, the Alberta child services refused to act and my child ended up surrendered to Children's Aid in Ontario. I fought in court for my daughter as she sat in foster care for half her life. They wouldn't let me care for my daughter due to Ontario rules stating they can only return the child to the surrendering parent. The ex got my daughter back despite ongoing mental health issues. Once again I'm alienated and don't know the whereabouts of my child. The entire system is broken.
LikeReply7 hrs
Sharon Rudyk ·
This makes me sick to my stomach. This poor little girl suffered from untold abuses. She was not fed properly and she was abused. Hungry and afraid. A CHILD IN THIS COUNTRY SHOUD NEVER EVER HAVE TO FEEL THESE THINGS!!!!! wtf IS WRONG WITH US!!!!!!
LikeReply5Dec 8, 2016 12:12pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
But this is the status quo on reserves. Sort of 'off limits'. One news group just published an article on the incest and sexual situation and it was shuffled to the back quite quickly. It will be interesting to see if this MMIW investigation deals with this. I bet not. It is always someone else's fault.
LikeReply3Dec 8, 2016 1:02pm
Laura MacRae ·
Dave Barlass Stop. Throwing wild unsubstantiated claims is not the answer. Immediate and comprehensive investigation, including real consequences for those at fault, and a complete overhaul of all of the areas that allowed this travesty to happen, is an urgent priority. The government took custody of 71 kids who have died in care. The government must be held accountable.
LikeReply5Dec 8, 2016 1:24pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Laura MacRae: These are not 'wild unsubstantiated claims' but that actual situation brought out into the light. I have personal knowledge of two situations where criminal charges should have been laid but, because they happened on a reserve, nothing was done. As well, I was at a tribal office several years ago making a presentation when one of my female employees was chased around the parking lot by a guy trying to 'kiss' her. That was 8 in the morning!
LikeReplyDec 8, 2016 1:52pm
Laura MacRae ·
Dave Barlass And you personally filed police reports identifying the alleged perpetrators? If yes, then you should contact the office of the Child Advocate and file a formal complaint via the RCMP or police department and provide copies to all Opposition parties.
LikeReplyDec 8, 2016 4:14pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Laura MacRae: Lol! I'm going to waste my time trying to convince an RCMP officer to arrest a drunken native on a reserve! I dealt with that incident personally and on the spot. The two sexual assault cases, one rape and the other 'just' mere molestation were reported to the police but charges were never laid. These are small communities and stuff like this affects everyone.
LikeReplyDec 8, 2016 4:50pm
Laura MacRae ·
Dave Barlass I've worked on and with First Nations in the context of criminal law. I'm sorry, but I know that your bigoted comments are false. If you didn't report the alleged assaults then you have no credibility. I won't respond to you any further as you have shown yourself to have no credibility.
LikeReply1Dec 8, 2016 6:39pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Another useless civil servant
LikeReplyDec 8, 2016 9:38pm
Arlene Clark ·
Laura MacRae
Once again someone blames "government" officials for failure to police a problem instead of focusing on how to stop these problems from occurring in the first place. If it is a FN problem, then FN needs to be held accountable for the environment they are providing for children. ANY child abuse should be immediately addressed by the FN community. Any abuse should result in FN action against the perpetrators both physically and monetarily. FN leaders need to take responsibility and if they want the government to do it, then return the funds to the government to hire capable people and do not talk about needing to maintain an environment that cannot look after women and children.
LikeReply23 hrs
Laura MacRae ·
Dave Barlass Yet another incorrect assumption.
LikeReply7 hrs
Shaun N Deb ·
Leaving them on the reserve was a huge mistake.
UnlikeReply4Dec 8, 2016 11:31am
Jim Bathie ·
Agreed.
LikeReplyDec 8, 2016 6:01pm
Dave Barlass ·
Works at Self-Employed
Putting these kids back into a 'home' on a reserve is appalling. These people take kids into their 'Homes' just for the govt money they receive. The rate of sexual abuse, incest and violence against women and children in the indigenous community is well documented but it's like the elephant sitting in the corner of the room: everyone knows it's there but they just won't talk about it.
LikeReply2Dec 8, 2016 10:53am
Crayonlady Casey
This is no secret....a Federal report came out while Redford was in power that identified that Alberta had the highest number of children murdered or abused under the care of Childrens Services in the entire country. Redford's response..."These children had problems before we got them"! And yes, nothings changed. The abuse of the Alberta government at ALL levels is appalling! So; when are Albertans going to speak up and demand change? The NDP government has their own agenda, and the citizens (and children) of Alberta don't even factor in!
LikeReply4Dec 8, 2016 9:05am
Sandy Burgoyne ·
i could not agree more with you brian on all you say...these are children not business deals...anyone imagine how a child has been taken from a home to protect them to be taken to an abusive home and no one knows???? what the hell is wrong with the human heart, just my opinion
LikeReply4Dec 8, 2016 8:29am
Brian Cowan ·
The entire child protection system in Canada needs an overhaul. From personal experience I can say that in Alberta and in Ontario, they fail to listen to concerns and fail to investigate. It's a money making venture and children are the commodity. 
LikeReply6Dec 8, 2016 8:06am


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We aren't getting value for our tax dollars. Employees seem to think they are our employers. We get dead children and abused/ dead seniors that no one in the public hears about due to secrecy, silencing and retribution. Just try talking about abuse in the continuing care system and the made by the PCs Trespass to Premises legislation which was made without an appeal process can be used against you with the full agreement of both the PC and NDP folks in government. The use of this legislation enables continuing care and health authorities to control the public discourse about abuse, adverse events and deaths. It's been used to ban advocates such as Shauna McHarg from seeing family members. Ruth Adria who is receiving a Human Rights Award from the John Humphrey Centre in Edmonton, has been handcuffed, escorted off premises and fined for her work advocating for our most vulnerable seniors and handicapped seniors. It is outrageous that a helpless woman like Ruth would be treated in this horrific manner for no other reason than she was helping abused and harmed seniors in care. The PCs were fully aware of the problems in the system as are the NDPCs. And yet no one takes action in the GOA.
The mother of a four-year-old girl who died in kinship care spoke out on Wednesday about the case that triggered an emergency debate in the Alberta legislature and…
GLOBALNEWS.CA|BY PHIL HEIDENREICH
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