Mother of foster child says roundtable discussion just a runaround ploy
MINISTER OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES: IN THE BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN
Amid the public furor over successive Alberta government’s failure to report the deaths of eighty-nine children in care deaths over the last fourteen years, a mother of a former foster child is speaking out, almost seven years to the day her daughter died of so-called “natural causes”.
But the 2012 fatality inquiry report into the death of Velvet Martin’s daughter Samantha also found she was severely malnourished, weighing just 51 pounds at the age of 12, suffered numerous unexplained fractures and bruises, and rarely saw a doctor while in foster care.
During the inquiry, Martin says her own legal battle to get legal aid representation for her daughter was fought by taxpayer-funded lawyers representing the Redford government.
“The ministry had a team of lawyers, the foster placement had their own renowned lawyer, and Samantha had no one but me to be her voice,” Martin says.
“And there’s something definitely, definitely wrong when the person who’s the subject of a public fatality inquiry, that we are supposed to learn from, has no legal representation.”
Meanwhile, Martin says she’s concerned the roundtable discussion proposed by Human Services minister Dave Hancock for January, is another case of the government hoping the public will have lost interest in the story by then.
“Are we waiting until January just so we can perhaps forget that a 145 children died? Maybe we’ll just go away? That’s not happening, sorry,” Martin says.
“If the ministry truly cares, they’re going to do it now, act now.”
Martin accused Hancock of being the latest in a line of children services ministers who claimed the foster care system works, and is getting better.