Alberta child and youth advocate’s report calls for stronger collaboration between agencies to protect vulnerable children

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Roy

Roy, 19, died of pneumonia caused by an undetermined infection. An application for public guardianship was made a month before his 18th birthday despite numerous assessments since he was 10 years oldidentifying he would need support into adulthood. 

Graff found that Roy may have benefited from earlier planning for adult services. He also foundFamily Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) legislation and policy were “not aligned regarding services available to children up to the age of 18. Without clear timelines, there is ambiguity in how the policy is interpreted and applied.”

Graff is recommending that Community and Social Services review and revise FSCD policy to align with legislation and clearly indicate that children and families are able to use out-of-home placements up to the age of 18.

Cooper

Cooper died of cancer when he was five-years-old. Graff found Cooper had complex medical needs and was exposed to family violence, but the necessary supports and services were not in place to ensure his safety.

The report states supports and safety plans must be available and implemented in a timely manner, especially when young people have complex medical needs. Graff found there was difficulty determining which office should provide intervention service to him when he returned home from cancer treatment.

“Attempts to transfer his intervention file were not successful and child intervention involvement ended,” the report states. “Cooper was left at risk; he required ongoing monitoring and supports to ensure his safety.”

Graff is recommending the Children’s Services Ministry re-evaluate and revise policies and guidance for file transfers so they are “consistently interpreted and applied across the province.” He also suggests implementing a clear escalation process.

ajunker@postmedia.com

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