Alberta child deaths focus of two-day roundtable
A two-day roundtable into how the deaths of children in government care are reported to the public starts Tuesday in Edmonton.
The discussions, which will be streamed online, will focus on how to balance public accountability with the right to privacy.
The panel will also look at how deaths are investigated and reported.
- Unreported child deaths lead to call for public inquiry
- Alberta reveals 596 more deaths of children in government care
Alberta’s Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act prohibits the publication of the names of children who have died in care and their parents.
The law is so restrictive that the parents of children who died need to get a court order in order to discuss their cases.
Critics believe the law shields the government from criticism and discourages the release of information that could force the system to change.
Alberta’s new Human Services minister, Manmeet Bhullar, says he’d like the law to change.
"The identity of a child who's passed away -- I don't think that's the government's business to be making that decision for families,” he said.
“I think that's families, parents and siblings and loved ones that should be making the decision."
Prompted by an investigation from the Edmonton Journal, the Alberta government confirmed late last year that 145 children died in government care from 1999 to 2013, 89 more than originally reported.
The Journal was only able to gain access to the records after a four-year legal fight.
Earlier this month, Bhullar released more information revealing the deaths of another 596 children who had some contact with the child welfare system.