Province's role in Betty Anne Gagnon case questioned
Opposition parties are raising questions about the province’s role in the case of Betty Anne Gagnon, the developmentally-disabled woman who died in 2009 after months of neglect.
Gagnon, 48, was in the care of her sister and brother-in-law Denise and Michael Scrivens at the time of her death.
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On Thursday, the Scrivens were each sentenced to 20 months in jail for failing to provide the “necessaries of life.”
Documents revealed that the Scrivens repeatedly asked for help from officials in charge of the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program.
Another placement was found for Gagnon, but the file was closed when the couple couldn’t be contacted.
Wildrose critic Jeff Wilson wants to know why no one intervened.
“I think it's clear that failures happened on the province's side, there's failures that happened on the Scrivens’ side and we as Albertans are paying the price for all of it,” he said.
NDP critic Rachel Notley said even though Gagnon died four years ago, there are still many problems with the system.
"People talk about people falling through the cracks. Well, the system appears designed for the cracks – not for the protection,” she said.
“So I’m very frustrated at the lack of responsibility that was taken by the key people in this situation and the fact that we had this tragic outcome as a result.”
Human Services Minister Dave Hancock says the province will hold a fatality inquiry into the Gagnon’s death – but it cannot be scheduled until all legal proceedings are complete.
The Scrivens have one month to decide whether to file an appeal in the case.
Hancock says that the details of the case are troubling and he hopes lessons can be taken from examining the circumstances leading to Gagnon’s death.
“I would hope that policies and processes are in place to ensure that this doesn't happen but if people are seeing something then we need to know,” he said.
“There is no excuse for this happening in our community.”