The parents of a teenager who died while in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development have filed a lawsuit against the province.
Nick Lang was 15 when he died last June, six days after he entered a government-funded rehabilitation day program in Campbell River where participants stay with local families.
In their civil suit, his parents Peter Lang and Linda Tenpas say the ministry was negligent and failed their son. Their claims center around the actions of the government worker in charge of Nick's case.
"When you have a government that seems to value money over lives and over individuals getting help, then you need to cost them money in order to get them to sit up and take notice, so that's why we've done it," said Peter Lang.
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The parents claim their son wasn't adequately supervised while he was in care, despite his being at risk of suicide and drug use. They say the caregivers he was staying with while he was in the program were not trained to care for him.
The host family found his body in a closet, in a room where he'd been left unattended for 40 minutes.
The parents also accuse the province of not considering their Métis son's background and providing him with culturally-appropriate care.
Lang says he hopes the lawsuit can spur changes that can benefit other children. None of the allegations have been proven in court
The province says it has accepted the changes recommended in an expert review of the case, which will be implemented by this summer.
"This is an important part of our ongoing efforts to ensure we learn from tragic circumstances like this and continue improving the way we deliver programs and services to youth and families across the province," said Minister Stephanie Cadieux in a written statement.
The minister said the review was shared with Nick Lang's family as well as with ministry officials.