EDMONTON — An 18-month-old Alberta child who was in foster care has died.
CTV says family members say the little girl had only been in foster care at a home in Morinville, north of Edmonton, for about two months.
The family says the toddler suffered severe brain damage, and that doctors told them she may have been shaken to death.
The girl was rushed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton on Monday and family said she died there on Wednesday.
Morinville RCMP has opened a file into the severe injury of a child on the same night as the alleged incident, but as yet no charges have been laid.
Alberta Children and Youth Services Minister Yvonne Fritz says an investigation is underway into the girl’s death.
“It is very heartbreaking when any child is in a life-threatening situation and our thoughts are with this child’s family — that is our foster family and this child’s biological family,” Fritz said.
The incident is the latest facing Alberta’s foster-care system.
Last week, a Calgary foster parent was charged with a range of sex crimes against children in his care.
An Edmonton foster mom was sentenced last June to three years in jail for the death of a toddler.
One year ago, a four-year-old girl in foster care died from head injuries and her aunt has been charged in her death.
NDP Leader Brian Mason says they’ve been calling on the government to make improvements.
“They need to improve the recruitment and screening of foster parents; they need to make sure there’s enough supervision that’s taking place.”
The province won’t speculate on what caused the latest death, but Fritz admits the system needs to be better.
“It doesn’t mean we’ve done all that we can do to strengthen our screening process, but that’s something the senior staff evaluate on a continual basis, ” Fritz said.
The child’s biological family says the little girl was in care because her mother was dealing with some health problems.
The province claims privacy laws prevent it from disclosing how long the foster parents have been in the system, or if there are currently other foster children residing in the same home.