Serious questions are being raised about child welfare services in Manitoba after the death of a toddler who had been involved in the system since birth.


Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead, 2, died hours after being rushed to a Winnipeg hospital June 29. ((CBC))

Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead, 2, was living with her mother in a native women's transition centre when she was rushed to hospital in Winnipeg on June 29. She died hours later.

Her mother Nicole Redhead, 27, was charged with second-degree murder following an investigation by the Winnipeg police child abuse unit.

The girl had been in the care of an aboriginal child and family services agency called Awasis, but it gave custody back to Redhead last December with the condition that Awasis would supervise the pair closely.

The child's grandmother, Sky Sanderson, said she noticed bruises on her forehead and cheek at the funeral, but thought at the time that they were caused by a fall.


Sky Sanderson holds a picture of her two-year-old granddaughter Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead. ((CBC))

Police said doctors found signs of long-term physical abuse.

"I adored this girl very much. I loved her very dearly. She took a piece of my  heart with her," Sanderson said. "They should have known better before they give her back to her."

Jaylene is the fourth child to die under the watch of Awasis since last fall.

"You're being watched by people that are in a centre funded by the agencies, funded by the government, why did no one notice this little child was being abused? Why didn't they notice until she died?" said Conservative MLA Mavis Tailleau, the party's Manitoba Family Services critic.

"It certainly raises a lot of alarm bells when you have an agency that this is repeatedly happening in," she said.

The province's children's advocate is investigating all four deaths.