In the wake of a media investigation into the number of children who die in government care, Human Services Minister Dave Hancock released a video to Alberta’s child and youth care workers thanking them for their work.
Earlier this week, a joint Edmonton Journal/Calgary Herald investigation revealed a total of 145 children have died in government care since 1999 – nearly three times the number of death reported by the province.
In the video, titled “A Message for Child Intervention Staff”, Hancock alludes to the media report, saying, “Unfortunately, it is all too easy for some to focus on areas and incidences where we haven’t achieved our desired outcomes.”
“Neither you or I can keep people with an agenda from selectively using information to support a narrow point of view,” he continues. “What you can do is remain steadfast in your belief that you are making a positive difference, that you are doing good things for children and families in Alberta every day.”
“I want you to know that such instances are not how we measure our success and that of the department. And what I can do is to let you know that I am always standing with you,” he adds.
Province defends record
Speaking Wednesday as part of a panel of foster care supporters, Katherine Jones, executive director of the Alberta Foster Parents Association, said media reports questioning foster care "should not be allowed."
Hancock himself seconded the opinion, saying "the public doesn't have the right to know everything.”
The discrepancy in the numbers comes from how deaths were reported, he said, adding that all deaths have been reported since new legislation was passed last year.
Meanwhile, Alberta opposition parties have called for a public inquiry into the deaths of children in provincial care.