Alberta to allow publication of names of children who die in government care

The Alberta government introduced changes Tuesday to allow the publication of names and photos of children who die in government care.

EDMONTON — The Alberta government introduced changes Tuesday to allow the publication of names and photos of children who die in government care.

“I have said from day one I didn’t like the way the publication ban sat,” Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar told a news conference after he introduced Bill 11 in the legislature.

“It is the basic right of each and every one to express grief publicly or to protect privacy in a period of tremendous stress.

“This is not a decision for the government to make.”

The proposed Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Amendment Act will also give Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff and officials more latitude and powers to investigate the deaths or serious injuries of children in care.

Graff’s mandate will also be expanded to authorize and investigate the death of a child in care up to two years after the child has left the system.

Families who don’t want the name and photo of their deceased child to be published can still go to court to get such an order.

The bill is the result of a Post Media newspaper series last November that detailed gaps in child death investigations and frustration over parents not being allowed to talk publicly about the death of their loved ones.

Using documents obtained under freedom of information rules, the series revealed the province has used its privacy laws to avoid telling the public about the deaths of 89 children in care since 1999.

Bhullar, after he was named to the human services portfolio in December, then released information that indicated there were hundreds more deaths of children who were not in direct care, but had been at one time, or who were in indirect care, or who had injuries under investigation.

With those figures added in, the total number of deaths since 1999 stands at 741 out of 275,000 children.

The law currently prevents anyone — even the parents of a dead child — from speaking publicly about what happened.

Critics have said that can be abused to cover up government neglect or negligence.

The Post Media series also detailed a patchwork system of investigations, with overlapping jurisdictions and no system to make sure that recommendations to prevent future child deaths were monitored or implemented.

NDP human services critic Rachel Notley said being allowed to name the children is a step forward, but said the bill doesn’t mandate the release of internal reports of child death investigations.

“They (the reports) remain internal and the only way we see those reports is if the children’s advocate happens to do an investigation,” said Notley.

“Unfortunately (Graff’s) mandate — although slightly broadened — is limited by his resources. So we’re not seeing him doing the vast majority of investigations that should occur.

“Then we continue to have independence in theory but not in practice, and transparency in theory but not in practice.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month