Thursday, February 9, 2017

-The Ministry of Children and Family Development, in an e-mail statement, said the cases are up because the criteria for reporting a critical injury or death started to change in 2011, as did the computer system used to track them in 2014.------“This does not necessarily mean that the number or severity of incidents has increased, just that the criteria of what is reported has been expanded,” the e-mail said.-------Indeed, Richard’s office received reports of 3,048 critical injuries and 885 deaths of children with links to the ministry between 2008 and 2016. Critical injures can include attempted suicide, emotional trauma, assaults and accidents.--------------But Bernard Richard, B.C.’s acting children’s advocate, says the totals still represent emotional or physical trauma being suffered by too many youth. “It’s too early to jump to the conclusion that there are more cases, but just the sheer numbers are startling,” Richard said in an interview. “We see a pretty alarming number of suicide attempts, overdoses, sexual abuse and physical abuse. It really is unpleasant to know that so many kids are going through these kinds of experiences … and often it is the result of actions by someone caring for them.”---One hundred and twenty children in care or receiving services from the B.C. government died last year, and more than 740 received “critical injuries,” according to a new tally by the children’s advocate.----------- Julie Ali · University of Alberta It begins to feel that children are more at risk in the care of the government than in their original situations. Surely there could be some improvement in the care provided to children in the care of govenrment? It seems like government is not interested in these children and society has not held the government accountable. When government fails as the public parent we should hold government accountable by changing the political party in power. It's time that these deaths became a national issue. In Alberta to date over 800 kids have died in the child welfare system. If this happened in families there would be charges and change. Since these deaths occur in the care of the GOA there are no penalties, no change and an ongoing series of deaths. It's very sad. Like · Reply · Just now

Apparently according to the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development-the spin is that the numbers of children injured or dead are not really increasing even though they are--apparently the categories are responsible for the sense that there is an increase???
Who makes up this stuff at the BC government? We have GOASPIN in Alberta for the over 800 dead kids in the child welfare system and in BC we have chatter about categories to explain increased child injuries and fatalities. Who are we hiring to government these days?
The Ministry of Children and Family Development, in an e-mail statement, said the cases are up because the criteria for reporting a critical injury or death started to change in 2011, as did the computer system used to track them in 2014.
“This does not necessarily mean that the number or severity of incidents has increased, just that the criteria of what is reported has been expanded,” the e-mail said.
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Number of B.C. kids-in-care deaths, critical injuries jump dramatically

Published on: February 9, 2017 | Last Updated: February 9, 2017 7:17 PM PST
Nineteen-year-old Paige Gauchier died of an overdose in 2013 in a Downtown Eastside rooming house, shortly after aging out of foster care.
Nineteen-year-old Paige Gauchier died of an overdose in 2013 in a Downtown Eastside rooming house, shortly after aging out of foster care.HANDOUT
One hundred and twenty children in care or receiving services from the B.C. government died last year, and more than 740 received “critical injuries,” according to a new tally by the children’s advocate.
And while the number of children in care in the province has declined over the last decade, the number of reported deaths and critical injuries has risen at a dramatic pace: Deaths jumped from 72 in 2008 to 120 last year, while critical injuries skyrocketed from 120 to 741.
The way these incidents are reported has changed recently in response to criticisms about the child-welfare system, making it impossible to prove that these vulnerable children actually experienced more serious injuries. The numbers of deaths were also reported differently over time — in the past, deaths from “natural causes” such as an accident or an illness were not counted. Now all deaths are reported.
But Bernard Richard, B.C.’s acting children’s advocate, says the totals still represent emotional or physical trauma being suffered by too many youth.
“It’s too early to jump to the conclusion that there are more cases, but just the sheer numbers are startling,” Richard said in an interview.  “We see a pretty alarming number of suicide attempts, overdoses, sexual abuse and physical abuse. It really is unpleasant to know that so many kids are going through these kinds of experiences … and often it is the result of actions by someone caring for them.”
Indeed, Richard’s office received reports of 3,048 critical injuries and 885 deaths of children with links to the ministry between 2008 and 2016. Critical injures can include attempted suicide, emotional trauma, assaults and accidents.
B.C. children's death graphicTwo-thirds of the injury cases and nearly 40 per cent of the deaths were investigated by the advocate, because they were under unusual circumstances, inflicted on purpose, or possibly the result of maltreatment. Many of those reviews are complete, resulting in recommendations for change to the child welfare system; some are still underway.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development, in an e-mail statement, said the cases are up because the criteria for reporting a critical injury or death started to change in 2011, as did the computer system used to track them in 2014.
“This does not necessarily mean that the number or severity of incidents has increased, just that the criteria of what is reported has been expanded,” the e-mail said.
The ministry said these reports can be made any time a child is injured, and not necessarily in the caregiver’s home. It also noted that many of the kids in care are “medically fragile with ongoing health problems or terminal illnesses.”
NDP critic Melanie Mark, though, called the numbers “shocking,” and hopes the rising tally of injuries and deaths will force the ministry to follow some of the advocate’s recommendations, such as hiring more social workers.
“The number (of deaths and injuries) is going up and as more information is going to the advocate, there is more pressure (on the ministry) to do something about it,” she said.
“We shouldn’t get comfortable with the numbers. We shouldn’t accept that a whole bunch of children removed from their own families are experiencing harm.”
‘We see a pretty alarming number of suicide attempts, overdoses, sexual abuse and physical abuse,’ says Bernard Richard, B.C.'s acting children's advocate.
‘We see a pretty alarming number of suicide attempts, overdoses, sexual abuse and physical abuse,’ says Bernard Richard, B.C.’s acting children’s advocate. HANDOUT
The issue of what is a reportable critical injury came to the fore in 2010, when a 15-year-old girl with Down Syndrome was found alone with her mother’s dead body and had been there for at least 24 hours. The incident was not reported.
“There was a time when the ministry would have said the child wasn’t injured,” Richard said. “But we think the emotional, psychological damage is just as concerning so we want to make sure we do our reviews … and not have the ministry make those decisions for us.”
A scathing 2015 report about Paige Gauchier, who died after aging out of care, found many horrible things that had happened to her were not reported, but should have been, Richard said.
As the cases of deaths and injuries climbed, the number of youth in care fell from 9,097 in 2006-07 to 7,197 in 2016-17.
A recent report by Richard’s office that examined a six-month period last year, found more than three-quarters of the suspicious critical injuries involved children in government care (as opposed to those just receiving services), and 61 per cent of those were aboriginal.
Between June 1 and Sept. 30, his office received reports of 275 critical injures, and 217 of those are being reviewed . While the majority of the reports being reviewed involved teens, there were 36 suspicious injures of kids ages six to 12 years and another 12 injured children under five years old.
The news was slightly better for the 36 deaths, as only nine of those were considered in need of a review by the children’s advocate. (The remainder would be of natural causes or some other circumstances not deemed suspicious.) Of those nine, one was in foster care, at least three were aboriginal, two were babies and the rest were teens.
tsherlock@postmedia.com
lculbert@postmedia.com


Julie Ali ·
It begins to feel that children are more at risk in the care of the government than in their original situations. Surely there could be some improvement in the care provided to children in the care of govenrment?
It seems like government is not interested in these children and society has not held the government accountable.
When government fails as the public parent we should hold government accountable by changing the political party in power. It's time that these deaths became a national issue.
In Alberta to date over 800 kids have died in the child welfare system.
If this happened in families there would be charges and change.
Since these deaths occur in the care of the GOA there are no penalties, no change and an ongoing series of deaths.
It's very sad.
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