Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Paula Simons: Child death review legislation a betrayal of public trust----Bill 18 seems to exploit the weaknesses of the child advocate’s office and legislation to reduce public accountability and curtail public scrutiny, all in the name of protecting the privacy of the dead.----------Good job Team Notley in protecting the government of Alberta from being held accountable! What have we learned from asking government for more transparency and accountability? We get the exact opposite. It's pretty neat how the people we thought would be better than the PCs are actually even worse than the folks we fired.

Arie A. de Valois updated his profile picture.
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Simons: I so desperately wanted to cheer this new legislation.


Fewer public inquiries in open court. More names kept secret. And fewer people held accountable.
EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM
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Julie Ali This article brings up the problems of the legislation that is being proposed specifically the increased secrecy and the transformation of public fatality inquiries into pointless reports by an advocate who makes recommendations that the GOA can then ignore. 

While the fatality inquiries did not force the government to do anything either at least they were transparent and useful depending on the judge involved. We could read these fatality reports and directly hold the government accountable for failures. We got the names of the children and youth who died. Now we have an overburdened advocate office stuck with a major increase in work load without any reasonable way to deal with this increase in work load. The advocate has no legislated powers to do anything much less tell us the names of the kids. What will happen with the increased work load will be an inevitable failure to keep up and so cases will be back logged as in the Serenity case. And this will be an accepted backlog. 

Good job Team Notley in protecting the government of Alberta from being held accountable! What have we learned from asking government for more transparency and accountability? We get the exact opposite. It's pretty neat how the people we thought would be better than the PCs are actually even worse than the folks we fired.

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4 mins
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Jerrold Grande Same old, same old! So much for NDP being a caring, sharing and transparent government for people in need of protection 😡

Reply1 hr
Julie Ali They are worse than the PCs. They are smarter. And we're stuck with them for the next few years. Very troubling. But at least now we know never to vote NDP ever again.

Reply13 mins
This comment will also be posted to edmontonjournal.com.
Marlina Auger-Waterstreet Blah blah Blah...more useless reports. Poor kids.

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http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/paula-simons-child-death-review-legislation-a-betrayal-of-public-trust

Paula Simons: Child death review legislation a betrayal of public trust

Published on: May 30, 2017 | Last Updated: May 30, 2017 7:07 PM MDT
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Alberta’s Child Protection and Accountability Act
Danielle Larivee (Alberta Children’s Services Minister) tabled the Child Protection and Accountability Act at the Alberta Legislature on Tuesday May 30, 2017.
I have to say this for the Notley government. They don’t waste time.
It’s been just six weeks since the all-party child death review panel tabled its recommendations to improve Alberta’s deeply dysfunctional child death review system. Yet on Tuesday, the NDP tabled its new child death review legislation.
But for all the rush, the legislation is a crushing disappointment. Far from making the system more transparent and accountable, it enshrines a whole new level of secrecy. It makes a mockery of everything this all-party panel was supposed to accomplish.
Bill 18, the Child Protection and Accountability Act, is a sweeping and radical change to the way we investigate the deaths of children in care in the province.
Under Bill 18, Alberta’s child and youth advocate, an independent officer of the legislature, would be mandated to investigate the death of every child in care, and every child, up to the age of 20, who had received some kind of child welfare services within two years of his or her death.
That sounds splendid. But the devil is in the details.
The current advocate, Del Graff, picks out a few particularly striking or disturbing fatalities every year, and writes an overview report about them, looking for patterns, looking for systemic weaknesses in the child welfare system. But his reports don’t hold anyone accountable for a particular child’s death. And they make only the broadest, non-specific recommendations.
Under Bill 18, his office would have to write a public report on every single death — last year, there were 26. Reports would have to offer specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive recommendations for change.
This would be a huge departure from past practice — and a huge increase in Graff’s caseload.
Add to that, the law also requires the office to complete all reports within a year of learning about a child’s death. Any delays would have to be justified to a committee of the legislature. That’s also a huge departure, since very few of Graff’s current reports are completed within a year.
Currently, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has an annual budget of $13.2 million and a staff of 67. But only seven of them are investigators. On Tuesday, Graff wouldn’t even hazard a guess about what kind of resources he’d need to fulfil his new duties properly.
Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee declined Tuesday to discuss when, whether and how Graff’s budget and resources might change to keep up. But if the office doesn’t get more resources — quickly — how can it possibly fulfil its new mandate?
Graff’s other major concern? While the legislation requires all government departments to “respond” to his recommendations within 75 days, nothing in the law says they have to accept or act on those recommendations.
“The only vehicle I have to compel the government to act is public pressure,” says Graff. “Saying they have to ‘respond’ in 75 days is just not sufficient.”
But I have a far greater problem with Bill 18.
Under the Child and Youth Advocate Act, Graff is bound by extraordinarily strict privacy provisions. He cannot publish the name of a child who dies. He cannot make public any identifying information about the child, not even where he or she lived. That’s still true, even though the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act was amended in 2014 to allow the media to publish the names of children who died in care. The irony? I could publish Serenity’s name and photo. Graff couldn’t. He still can’t. And Bill 18 doesn’t change that.
Serenity, in a photo taken in February 2014, seven months before her death.  SUPPLIED
Imperfect as our current system is, we do at least get to find out the names of some of the kids who’ve died in care, if and when there’s a public fatality inquiry into those deaths.
Bill 18, though, could dramatically reduce the number of deaths that are subject to public inquiries. The goal would be to have a Child and Youth Advocate report take the place of many fatality reviews, and not “duplicate” efforts.
The consequence? Fewer public inquiries in open courtrooms. More names kept secret. And fewer people held accountable.
I so desperately wanted to cheer this new legislation. I wanted to applaud the Notley government for streamlining the child death review system, empowering the child advocate, and holding the system accountable. Instead, Bill 18 seems to exploit the weaknesses of the child advocate’s office and legislation to reduce public accountability and curtail public scrutiny, all in the name of protecting the privacy of the dead.
Too bad we can’t protect them while they’re still alive.

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psimons@postmedia.com

Julie Ali · 

This article brings up the problems of the legislation that is being proposed specifically the increased secrecy and the transformation of public fatality inquiries into pointless reports by an advocate who makes recommendations that the GOA can then ignore.

While the fatality inquiries did not force the government to do anything either at least they were transparent and useful depending on the judge involved. We could read these fatality reports and directly hold the government accountable for failures. We got the names of the children and youth who died. Now we have an overburdened advocate office stuck with a major increase in work load without any reasonable way to deal with this increase in work load. The advocate has no legislated powers to do anything much less tell us the names of the kids. What will happen with the increased work load will be an inevitable failure to keep up and so cases will be back logged as in the Serenity case. And this will be an accepted backlog.

Good job Team Notley in protecting the government of Alberta from being held accountable! What have we learned from asking government for more transparency and accountability? We get the exact opposite. It's pretty neat how the people we thought would be better than the PCs are actually even worse than the folks we fired.
LikeReply19 hrs
Virginia Pierce
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Tabby Sabo · 

#Albertayouthvoiceradio Well I remember when ctv did the story a couple years ago of anonymous speaking out about the deaths of children and that the NDP was not investigating the deaths of kids .
The NDP said " In a statement to CTV, an Alberta Human Services’ spokesperson said the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate “appears not to be aware of the checks in the current Alberta child intervention system and the transparency in reporting publicly.”
That's when we realized this government had no plan of being honest and transparent themselves .
It takes courage ,ethics and integrity to stand against tyrants that bully parents and kids and other advocates into silence .
This government has proved to be cowardly puppets that the Alberta people are absolutely ashamed of .We at Anonymous share this opinion!
http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/anonymous-takes-stand-against...
UnlikeReply19 hrs
Julie Ali · 

The worst part of this entire business is that the NDP portray themselves as being the people's party. In reality they are worse than the PCs. At least the PCs never pretended to be the people's party. They were always the party of the elite and we knew their priorities.
But the NDP folks bill themselves as being family friendly, as standing up for families and under cover of this image they simply go about subverting democracy in these legal ways. Very poor performance and it indicates at least to me that the NDP folks are more interested in their own political dynasty making than anything else. This group is full of failures.
LikeReply2 mins
Rita Mezei · 

I don't know much about the system in Alberta. It just seems the focus needs to be on improving the safety of kids that are in 'the system'. The government needs to look at social services and the weak points and inherent flaws and abuse that occcurs and come up with fresh ideas that allow children to be in a safe trusting environmnet. Seems backwards that the scope of the review is on 'protection' after death. What are priorities here?
LikeReply3 hrs
Morag Mackenzie · 

The second review is looking at the safety of kids in the "system" now.
LikeReply1 hr
Jerrold Grande
Same old, same old! So much for NDP being a caring, sharing and transparent government for people in need of protection 😡
UnlikeReply111 hrs
Julie Ali · 

They are worse than the PCs. They are smarter. And we're stuck with them for the next few years. Very troubling. But at least now we know never to vote NDP ever again.
LikeReply10 hrs
Arie A. de Valois · 

Julie Ali Oh shut up, Julie. The spam queen of Alberta.
LikeReply19 hrs
Morag Mackenzie · 

The release of the child's name is the decision of the family. As a journalist Paula should know that.
LikeReply11 hr
Julie Ali · 

Arie A. de Valois Why should I shut up? Unless of course you are being anti-democratic. And I guess you don't know the definition of spam. It's saying the same thing over and over again in the same way. It's nice of you to say that I am a spam queen but it's better to say that I am the truth queen.
LikeReply1 min
Julie Ali · 

Arie A. de Valois Also I have reported you to Facebook for being insulting to citizens who are trying to change the world.
LikeReplyJust now




Julie Ali · 

This article brings up the problems of the legislation that is being proposed specifically the increased secrecy and the transformation of public fatality inquiries into pointless reports by an advocate who makes recommendations that the GOA can then ignore.

While the fatality inquiries did not force the government to do anything either at least they were transparent and useful depending on the judge involved. We could read these fatality reports and directly hold the government accountable for failures. We got the names of the children and youth who died. Now we have an overburdened advocate office stuck with a major increase in work load without any reasonable way to deal with this increase in work load. The advocate has no legislated powers to do anything much less tell us the names of the kids. What will happen with the increased work load will be an inevitable failure to keep up and so cases will be back logged as in the Serenity case. And this will be an accepted backlog.

Good job Team Notley in protecting the government of Alberta from being held accountable! What have we learned from asking government for more transparency and accountability? We get the exact opposite. It's pretty neat how the people we thought would be better than the PCs are actually even worse than the folks we fired.
LikeReplyJust now
Jerrold Grande
Same old, same old! So much for NDP being a caring, sharing and transparent government for people in need of protection 😡
LikeReply1 hr
Julie Ali · 

They are worse than the PCs. They are smarter. And we're stuck with them for the next few years. Very troubling. But at least now we know never to vote NDP ever again.
LikeReply7 mins
Marlina Auger-Waterstreet
Blah blah Blah...more useless reports. Poor kids.
LikeReply12 hrs

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