Tuesday, July 18, 2017

--His name was Traezlin Denzel Starlight.------He was two years old -----He died of blunt force head trauma in 2014--------- He was apprehended at birth — but he and some of his siblings were returned to their mother’s care just after his second birthday.--------After two months, the toddler was hospitalized with a severe head injury.---------he was returned to his mother on the understanding she would have a support worker in her home 24/7. But after less than a week, his mother refused to have the support worker stay with her. Even then, the child was not removed from her care.------ But who holds accountable the system that returned three vulnerable children to high-risk homes? Who takes responsibility for placing these children back in peril?--A month after Traezlin was released from hospital, he was rushed back to intensive care, this time with serious injuries to his brain and spine, and bruising on his body. He was placed on life support, but died a week later.-----------------------Lucinda Holland Everyone involved is accountable. Even everyone who didn't want to get involved is accountable.


Three kids dead because they were returned to an unsafe home environment without appropriate supports, services and oversight. The creation of a Children's Ministry isn't the solution. Using your brain might be the solution. Who in the heck would send a child who is harmed by his mother back to the same mother for her to finish the job from the first incident? What the heck is going on at the GOA?
And why don't any of these incompetent folks get fired or otherwise face penalties for this abysmal job performance? Or is this our job in the next provincial election?
Comments


Julie Ali shared Paula Simons's post.
12 mins








https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57q5h0oiMz0

Matthew West - Broken Things (Audio)



Paula Simons job of reporting on harm, abuse and fatality in the child welfare system in Alberta--like Velvet Martin's role as an advocate for these children in our society is a thankless one.
It's also very hard to go through the process of documenting all these avoidable cases of harm, abuse and death -year after year to a public that has become inured to the tales of GOA incompetence.
Now here is another tale of sorrow.
Who will remember this child's avoidable death?
What can we do as citizens?
We can read Paula's record of shameful failures in the system.
We can write to the MLAs who do not have a clue with reference to how to change the system.
We can tell the MLAs what changes we consider essential such as increased oversight, commonsense solutions such as not sending a kid who was battered by his mother back to his mother because the system hasn't the brains to consider the risks of such a move but instead considers family reunification to be paramount. This is nonsense. The child comes first. Got it?
 Now go change the damn system.
How?
How about legislation that requires the Child and Youth Advocate to publish every single staff who dealt with this child and failed their duties?
How about we get the penalties imposed on the folks who failed this kid?
Or do they all get off without any sort of penalty?
Who gets punished for the death of a child in Alberta?
I guess no one.
The mother is going to jail.
But the folks in the system who failed this kid?
The folks in the system get off without any sort of jail time.
In Canada, abuse is not tolerated.
Unless you work for the GOA and its agencies.


Returning children to their abusers for the sake of making a political point is cruel madness.
EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM


http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/paula-simons-who-is-accountable-when-child-welfare-system-places-children-in-peril-no-one-it-seems

Paula Simons: Who is accountable when child welfare system places children in peril? No one, it seems

Paula Simons, Edmonton JournalPAULA SIMONS, EDMONTON JOURNAL

More from Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal

Published on: July 18, 2017 | Last Updated: July 18, 2017 6:54 PM MDT

0:01

/

2:19

Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff talks about the results of a new investigation into the deaths of three young children.

SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

His name was Traezlin Denzel Starlight.

He was two years old when his own little light was snuffed out. He died of blunt force head trauma in 2014. His mother, Livia Starlight, 31, was charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Earlier this month, she was sentenced to 26 months, in addition to the time she’s spent in custody. That’s roughly one month for every month of her son’s life.

The death of this boy from the Tssut’ina First Nation near Calgary is heartbreaking. But a new report, released Tuesday by Alberta’s child and youth advocate, should move us to fury, not just tears.

Child advocate Del Graff, bound by the strict privacy provisions of his governing legislation, never identifies Traezlin by name. But the case has already been to trial and all the names are a matter of public record.

As Graff’s report reveals, Livia Starlight had struggled with addictions for years. Traezlin was born suffering symptoms of drug withdrawal. He was apprehended at birth — but he and some of his siblings were returned to their mother’s care just after his second birthday.

After two months, the toddler was hospitalized with a severe head injury. Police were called to investigate. But when Traezlin got out of hospital, he wasn’t placed back in foster care. Instead, he was returned to his mother on the understanding she would have a support worker in her home 24/7. But after less than a week, his mother refused to have the support worker stay with her. Even then, the child was not removed from her care.

A month after Traezlin was released from hospital, he was rushed back to intensive care, this time with serious injuries to his brain and spine, and bruising on his body. He was placed on life support, but died a week later.

A funeral notice for Traezlin Starlight. The First Nations child died in September 2014. His mother was sentenced to 26 months for manslaughter in July 2017.

It’s no isolated case. In fact, Graff’s report bundles Traezlin’s death with those of two other First Nations children, both former foster kids who died of serious head injuries soon after being returned to their mothers.

While Graff doesn’t name them, the Journal has identified them as Jay Johnson, 15 months, of Maskwacis, who was killed in December 2015, and Shalaina Arcand, five, of Edmonton, who died in October 2015.

Jay’s mother, Florencine Potts, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in June to 30 months. Shalaina’s mother, Lauren LaFleche, was charged with second-degree murder and assault with a weapon in 2016, and is still facing trial.

Jay Johnson was 15 months old when he died. His mother was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 months in prison. FACEBOOK.

Shalaina Arcand was five when she died in October 2015 from head trauma. In October 2016, her mother was charged with second-degree murder and assault with a weapon and is facing trial. SUPPLIED

All three mothers had major addiction issues, complicated home lives and long case histories with the child welfare system, Graff’s report said. In all three cases, he found, child welfare agencies returned children to their mothers without proper supports or followup.

Those mothers now all face justice. But who holds accountable the system that returned three vulnerable children to high-risk homes? Who takes responsibility for placing these children back in peril?

Graff’s job is to investigate and look for over-arching, systemic issues. He doesn’t assign blame or responsibility. Legally, he can’t.

The Progressive Conservative government, back in 2014, ordered “statutory reviews” of any child welfare death that raised serious procedural issues. The department was supposed to make the findings of such statutory reviews public. But in three years, not one single review has been completed, under either the PCs or the New Democrats.

And so, Graff makes recommendation after recommendation. Even if the province “accepts” them, they have no force and effect. Meanwhile, he’s just been given a new and expanded mandate to review every single death of a child receiving protective services — with no guarantee that he and his staff will have enough resources to tackle the job.

Are child welfare workers being pushed to reunite children with overwhelmed or negligent parents, either to save money, or for political and ideological reasons?

Graff’s report doesn’t say. But it’s the logical question to ask when we see a pattern of kids being returned to unsafe homes. Obviously, we don’t want the child welfare system ripping families, especially Indigenous families, apart without cause. Our history is far too full of that, and it hasn’t ended well.

And yes, family reunification is a worthy goal, for all kinds of cultural, historical and practical reasons.

But returning high-needs kids to unprepared parents who desperately need more support is setting them up to fail.

And returning children to their known (or suspected) abusers for the sake of making a political point is cruel madness.  

But until someone holds “the system” accountable? Kids will just keep dying.

RELATED

psimons@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Paulatics


www.facebook.com/PaulaSimons



Julie Ali · 

There is no transparency or accountability in the child welfare system. The failures of government are basically accepted by government and the society. The few advocates who are speaking for the children such as Velvet Martin of Protecting Canadian Children have a heavy burden to carry and no one really to support her in the system.

The GOA is in continual defensive mode, the Child and Youth Advocate tries his best bur really what can one man do with secrecy as the mantra followed by bureaucrats, foster families and the medical system? In addition to having too heavy a workload, he can't get any of his recommendations implemented by the system so basically he is providing us with a history of incompetence in the child welfare system and government without any possible remedy or penalty because the politicians haven't given the powers to make change happen. Why would the politicians give any of the advocates meaningful powers? It would just expose more imcompetence and thereby ensure we don't rehire the current batch of MLAs again. Not that we are interested in rehiring them.

In my opinion, no one will do anything even with the new NDP government, the creation of a Ministry of Child Services and increased media attention. It is unfortunate but in Canada we have zero tolerance for abuse unless this abuse is the result of government failures.

But what can we do as citizens? We have changed the political party in power, we have activated ourselves to spread the information on social media and we have asked all levels of government to be part of the solution.
Instead of real change we have placebo solutions such as the #PanelPolitics by the NDP folks which repeat the Roundtable of shame of the PCs.

I believe that there will be no solutions offered by the GOA and any political party we elect. Real change would mean penalties for failed performance, admission of liabilities and changes in legislation which are not likely to occur with any political party we elect. The poor, the First Nations folks and the ordinary citizens are basically without any sort of access to justice. Even going to court will not provide sufficient compensation because the court system in Canada does not consider the lives of the least among us valuable enough to provide deterrent costs. The court system is also expensive, requires a great deal of effort and time that results in poor outcomes.

I feel for all these children and their families. I also feel for Paula having to report on this horror year after year. Thank you for doing the unimaginable job that Velvet Martin has to do which is reviewing the cases of unnecessary harm, abuse and deaths of children, youth and adults in the system.
LikeReply11 minsEdited
Terry Ted · 

Thank you Paula for keeping this topic in the news

I lost two friends both suicide
Both were in foster homes and we knew were being sexual assaulted even by the Catholic Church priest
We tried to speak up and told to shut up once we had a ear of an adult it was too late, one hung himself in his closet other in the garage weeks apart
UnlikeReply12 hrs
Carole S. Butler · 

Maternal feeling or not, a child is to be protected and loved, not abused and injured or killed! Anyone who puts a child in danger is responsible and cannot turn their backs on it! A child is born to a woman, but it takes a community to make sure the child grows to be a healthy child, adolescent and to an adult! Too much of this not taking responsibility and making excuses!
LikeReply12 hrs
Janice Hedley
I feel once children are removed from their mothers, the mother loses that maternal bond because of reasons mentioned in the article. These children go back into the mom's home but the maternal bond isn't instant and has to grow again. If no 24/7 support when child returns, the child has no chance. How many more of our children have to be injured or die? Someone, besides the parent has to be held responsible.
LikeReply13 hrs
John Kolkman
"And returning children to their known (or suspected) abusers for the sake of making a political point is cruel madness."

The above comment does a disservice to everyone involved in the child protection system, but especially professional front-line workers who are called upon to make decisions about when parents have made sufficient life changes to be reunited with their biological children. While sometimes these decisions end up being wrong with the benefit of hindsight, in none of the three tragic child deaths is their any evidence of anyone trying to make a political point.

The job of a child protection worker is tough enough without the Monday morning quarterbacking of an opinion columnist who has never worked on the front lines.
LikeReply138 mins
Wendy Rudiger · 

Maybe the PC'S should not have dissolved the Ministry of Child Services. Glad the NDP have reinstated the Ministry.
LikeReply56 mins
Julie Ali · 

And this has resulted in what change so far? Zero.
LikeReply22 mins
Lucinda Holland
Everyone involved is accountable. Even everyone who didn't want to get involved is accountable.
UnlikeReply12 hrs


I don't know how many more of these I have the heart to write. When will it be enough for real change?


Returning children to their abusers for the sake of making a political point is cruel madness.
EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM
Comments
Maureen MacDonald But...... the indigenous peoples want their children

Reply
1
3 hrs
Manage
Victor Barr To pound and beat and smash and rape.

Reply1 hr
Manage
Paula Simons There are lots of great parents out there. And there are lots of well-intentioned parents, struggling to get clean and sober and stable, and get their kids back. And many times it works, and it's great. But these were not those cases.

Like
Reply
1
1 hr
Manage
Maureen MacDonald I know that but "they" are always fighting to not have their kids in white homes

Reply
1
1 hr
Manage
Maureen MacDonald I have no idea what the answer is, it is just too sad.

Reply1 hr
Manage
Sarah Glenn Victor Barr grow up

Reply
1
58 mins
Manage
Julie Ali Victor Barr I doubt that this is the case. Did you note that there were addiction issues mentioned in this story? Also did you note that the child was not supposed to be alone with the addicted mum? Why was he left alone with her?

ReplyJust now
Manage
Carol Martinson-zito Just no excuses .

Reply
1
3 hrs
Manage
Susan Csapo When the politician's are gone!!!!

Reply3 hrs
Manage
Holly Waywayseecappo I'm a former foster care kid, and indigenous. I think it's important to let us say stuff. I'm also a social worker. There is so much work needed in this area. And both sides need to hear the truth, the good and bad and ugly. It's not all politicians. Our people need healing, hope, and help. I'd love to do with with you Paula! I'm looking to do a project based thesis in social work.

Reply
2 hrs
Manage
Danita MacDonald Sorry wrong emoji responce originally. Thanks for speaking up.

Reply2 hrs
Manage
Paula Simons That sounds really intriguing. Let's stay in touch.

Reply
1
1 hr
Manage
Holly Waywayseecappo Paula Simons I would love that! There needs to be a middle ground. And there needs so much more, that I can say here.

Reply1 hr
Manage
Janice Doreen It seems the pendulum has swung far the other way - years ago kids were ripped from their parents for next to no reason - now they are left till they die. Time to get some balance. How that is accomplished I just don't know... more resources in the Child Welfare system? More tangible guidelines for removing kids ? More tested/checked foster families? All of the above?

Reply
3
2 hrs
Manage
Susanne Debney The Advocate gave a worthy list of recommendations a year ago and nothing has been implemented. Same old story.

Reply
3
2 hrs
Manage
Paula Simons Yes. All of the above. But as Susanne says, there are so many recommendations - and not nearly enough actions.

Reply
3
1 hr
Manage
Kane Blacque You have given many of us a voice, so please do not stop telling our stories. 

Reply
6
2 hrs
Manage
Paula Simons Thank you, Kane, for being brave enough to share your story.

Reply
2
1 hr
Manage
Lillian Levy When the children become the main focus- not politicians, not race, not the system, not the parents etc. The Kids..

Reply
7
2 hrs
Manage

Reply1 hr
Manage
April Wiens My dream is that every decision will be determined on a case by case basis. Not all families will ever be well enough to have their kids returned to them. Some can go back with significant support. Some should be left in care if that's what they choose...See More

Reply
7
2 hrs
Manage
Paula Simons Exactly.

Reply1 hr
Manage
January Thompson There seems to be no consistency in the decision-making process that keeps kids in care or returns them to their families. I know of a young mother trying desperately to get her child back....she has jumped through every hoop and done everything asked of her and then some, and still, her child remains in care. And the reasons for apprehending the child seemed dubious right from the get-go.

Reply
2
2 hrs
Manage
Paula Simons It often seems very arbitrary, and based on the subjective judgment of unaccountable individuals and agencies.

Reply
1
1 hr
Manage
Michelle Gascoigne Yes- I have known of this as well. A sort of different domestic violence situation - police called- kids removed. Parent was one hurt, by a relative that was angry about care arrangements- they did not live in the home. Just showed up. And kids were taken. Years before one was returned. It is shocking and no one wants to rock the boat because of fear. So they do what they are told and those rules change and it is almost like some people enjoy the heartache they have put these folks through. This is also why folks are sometimes hesitant to go to the police, I think.

Reply
1
1 hr
Manage
Weber Eleanor This is just so serious...why? Will Child Welfare ever put the child first? Please save these helpless children from their abusers.

Reply1 hr
Manage
Iris Loewen Paula I am so grateful for the work that you do. Thank you for telling it so well.

Reply1 hr
Manage
Stephanie Lane Such a complicated issue with many layers. No easy fix, but voting for parties that won't defund Children's Services is the first step.

Reply41 mins
Manage
Bobbie Garnet Bees This has been going on for a long time Paula Simons. It's only recently that the media seems to have cared. Those of us who were failed by Edmonton Child and Family Services don't seem to rate too high on anyone's list of priorities, unless we die.

Reply
1
31 mins
Manage
Julie Ali I agree. And even now with media attention there is still no change.

ReplyJust now
Manage

No comments:

Post a Comment