The father of a three-year-old boy who died in the care of a foster mother now charged with second-degree murder says the system failed him.

In a three-page statement Wednesday, the28-year-old biological father writes that his pain and suffering cannot be put into words.

'If his sacrifice is to have meaning, there needs to be change.' —Father of three-year-old who died in foster care

"I held my son's battered, starved, beaten, broken body as he suffered, until he took his last breath of life."

In the statement, he blames the foster-care system.

"This system failed to protect my son," he writes. "If his sacrifice is to have meaning, there needs to be change."

The three-year-old was taken to Stollery Children's Hospital from a west-end foster home early Friday, and died Saturday.

The foster mother, who can't be named under Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, has been charged with second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm, and unlawfully abandoning or exposing the child to danger.

The woman's lawyer, Shannon Prithipaul, has asked the public to be patient and not judge the accused too quickly, saying there is another side to the story that will eventually come out in court.