--Silence is complicit ----Mdm. Marie-Claude Landry Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission --
It is clear to me that the Office of the Public Guardian will have to sue the GOA to get change in Alberta. Or families need to go to lawyers like Robert P. Lee to get help. Here is the video at the award ceremony to introduce families to him.
Government names child welfare panel experts
Published on: January 18, 2017 | Last Updated: January 18, 2017 6:05 AM MST
Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir said that details about the child intervention review panel will be released Thursday. GREG SOUTHAM / POSTMEDIA
A professor, a social worker and a director of the Native Counselling Services of Alberta will provide the provincial government with expert advice to try and fix the province’s broken child welfare system.
Peter Choate, registered social worker and assistant professor at Mount Royal University, Bruce MacLaurin, professor at the University of Calgary’s social work faculty and Patti LaBoucane-Benson, research and evaluation director at NCSA, have agreed to join five NDP MLAs, and one from each opposition party, to take a magnifying glass to child intervention.
More details of the panel are expected Wednesday, including the date of the first meeting.
Progressive Conservative interim leader Ric McIver first proposed a child review committee in November.
Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir instead proposed a ministerial panel, causing opposition parties to demand changes to the panel’s terms of reference. They reached a compromise on Dec. 22.
Sabir told Postmedia Tuesday it wasn’t hard to find experts willing to review the system.
“It’s an issue that everybody cares about — it’s about the vulnerable children, the vulnerable citizens — so whoever we reached out to, everybody was very positive,” he said.
“Everybody wants to work on this file.”
The panel has its work cut out — it has six weeks to recommend changes to the death review process, and a larger report recommending concrete actions for systematic change is due in six to eight months.
The panel is the most recent attempt in a string of reviews to improve Alberta’s child welfare system.
It was formed following the case of Serenity — a four-year-old girl who died of a traumatic head injury after being in government care.
When she arrived in hospital, she was suffering from serious hypothermia, catastrophic malnutrition, anal and genital bruising, and weighed just 18 pounds, the typical weight of a nine-month-old baby.
The case took two years to get to police, who are still investigating.
A registered social worker, Peter Choate holds a PhD in addictions and a master of social work, and is an assistant professor of social work at Mount Royal University.
Choate is engaged in clinical private counseling with an emphasis on addictions, domestic violence and child protection matters, and has been qualified as an expert witness multiple times in the Alberta Provincial Court and Court of Queen’s Bench.
His particular emphasis is on child and adolescent mental health including maltreatment, neglect and abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) and those issues within family systems.
Bruce MacLaurin is a professor of social work at the University of Calgary, where he teaches classes on child maltreatment, social work evaluation, research and social work policy at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
His research interests include child maltreatment, child welfare policy and service delivery, foster care outcomes, street youth and youth at risk. Before moving to the University of Calgary in 2002, he was a research associate at the University of Toronto’s Bell Canada Child Welfare Research Unit.
MacLaurin is currently the primary investigator in a three-year study for the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research, and is a co-investigator on three other major studies funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Patti LaBoucane-Benson has a PhD in human ecology, focusing on Aboriginal family resilience, and a Master of Science in family ecology. She has worked for the Native Counseling Services of Alberta for 16 years, where she is currently the director of research, training and communication.
Laboucane-Benson has been the principle or co-investigator on many community-based, applied research projects within the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in Canada.
LaBoucane-Benson was also the lead on the healing program curriculum for Aboriginal offenders for NCSA, and is the managing editor of international periodical Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Indigenous and Aboriginal Community Health Research.