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OCYA_AB: Child and Youth Advocate releases latest mandatory reviews concerning 10 young people

Press Release

Using accessible language and highlighting the actions and results of the province’s youth suicide prevention plan are key recommendations

Edmonton…The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate released reviews into the circumstances of 10 young people, nine of whom passed away between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020. This report also includes a young person who passed away prior to this time, but whose review was delayed in order to ensure that his family did not experience undue hardship.

“Each of these young people experienced unique challenges and circumstances. My thoughts are with those who love them and are experiencing the profound impact of their loss,” said Del Graff, Child and Youth Advocate. “As we continue to grapple with the pandemic, we must also continue to prioritize young people’s well-being and ensure that services and supports are responsive and flexible enough to meet their needs.”

The mandatory reviews also includes two new recommendations:

  • ensuring that when no-contact conditions are imposed on young people related to their caregivers, information is provided and explained to families in simple language about how to remove/revise these conditions without delay
  • engaging stakeholders to highlight the actions taken and results achieved in the first two years of the province’s five-year youth suicide prevention plan and to communicate future steps for action

Mandatory reporting increases accountability and transparency for government systems, benefitting both young people and their families involved with child intervention. Mandatory reporting also builds public confidence through identifying gaps, barriers and opportunities in systems that serve Albertans.

A copy of the report is available here: ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/investigative-review/.

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Legislature of Alberta. We stand up for young people receiving designated government services.

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Note: Backgrounder

Media inquiries:
Tim Chander
Communications Manager
Office of the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta
C: 780-499-3601; [email protected]

Backgrounder

On July 1, 2018, the Child Protection and Accountability Act expanded the mandate of the Advocate to publicly report on the death of a young person involved with Child Intervention Services, as a child in

need of intervention at the time of their death, or within two years of their death. Prior to changes these legislative changes, reporting on such deaths focused only on cases in which systemic issues were identified.

Demographic information on the ten young people

  • Eight of the young people were First Nation
  • All the young people were in their teenage years at the time of their death (ranging from 13-19 years old)
  • Causes of death:
  • Four passed away from drug or alcohol related causes (Violet, Chase, Kiari and
  • Two died by suicide (Kai and Libby)
  • One passed away due to medical reasons (Aiden)
  • In three cases the cause of death is still pending receipt of an autopsy report; two of these are apparent homicides (Teddy and Felix)

Information about recommendations, responses to recommendations and progress on implementation can be found at the following:

Previously released OCYA Investigative Reviews are posted at:

http://www.ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/investigative-review/

The Ministry of Children’s Services publicly responds to recommendations at:

http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/publications/15896.html

The OCYA regularly reports on the progress of recommendations at:

http://www.ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/recommendations/

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