Parents can now name Alberta children who died in care
Bill 11 approved, lifting automatic publication ban on children who died in provincial care
Kyleigh Tiara Crier hanged herself in the closet of her Edmonton group home in April after changing her Facebook cover page to a black and white image of a casket.
“Now, everyone loves me,” the caption read.
CBC News reported on the death of the 15-year-old but could not give her name or publish her picture under Alberta law, despite the wishes of her mother, Crystal.
“There’s a lot of kids who died in care and nobody knows about” it, Crystal Crier said.
Now, for the first time, CBC News can show the picture and reveal the name of the teen who struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts and addictions.
Publication ban lifted
On Wednesday, the Alberta cabinet approved Bill 11, which lifts the automatic publication ban on children “who have come to the attention” of the director of children services.
It means that any of these children can now be identified with the consent of their parents.
"When a child in our province dies and that family says, 'I want to scream at the top of the roof top about an injustice that has happened', they have that right," Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar told CBC News. "I want our children in care to have that same right."
Under the old Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, parents had to go to court for the right to speak about their children who died in foster or government care.
They can still keep their children’s name confidential but they have to ask a judge for a publication ban.
"Our intention in this is to empower families and those closest to children," Bhullar said.
'Stand behind a face, and not a shadow'
Her mother, Desiree Michaud, has been fighting to have her name and her daughter Navaeh's published. Having both names made public is a moment she has long been waiting for.
"You have no idea what a relief that is," she said. "To know that people can now stand behind a face, and not a shadow.
"I've heard that a lot of families have gone through what I've gone through. I hope that fighting as hard as I have so far has given them strength to come forward themselves about their little ones who have maybe been abused, beaten or had a suspicious death."
Crier's mother Crystal called the approval of Bill 11 a "burden off my shoulders."
"I cried happy tears," she said. "I didn't cry because I was sad. I was happy."
Long journey ahead
"She was the most warmhearted, kind, loving fun child. She just brought light to everybody's life."
Navaeh's name is heaven spelled backwards, because Michaud said "she was my little piece of heaven."
"I want people to know who this little girl was," Michaud said. "See her face and that beautiful little smile. See what somebody or something decided to take away from this world."
With files from CBC's Janice Johnston and Briar Stewart