Another child death probed by advocate, 27th in 5 years

The number of children that have died while under the protection of the provincial government has been revised to include one more, according to child and youth advocate Carol Chafe.

Carol Chafe says she found out about most recent death days after it occurred

Carol Chafe is Newfoundland and Labrador's child and youth advocate. (CBC)

The number of children that have died while under the protection of the provincial government has been revised to include one more.       

That means 27 children have died since the formation of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services in 2009.    

Child and youth advocate Carol Chafe told CBC News she found out about the death days after it occurred.

Chafe won't say when it happened, only that it was recent.

She met with the Department of Child, Youth, Family Services Thursday.

Chafe says she will now be told when a child dies at the same time the minister and deputy minister are informed.

But that is limited to child deaths at this point.

“We haven't come to any agreement in terms of critical incidents and this is only in relation to the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services,” Chafe said.

“It's not in relation to the other government departments, because I haven't met or spoke with any of those ministers.”

Number revealed through CBC investigation

A CBC News investigation last month, using access to information, revealed the other 26 child deaths dating back to 2009.

Chafe said she knew about six of the deaths, but only learned of the other 20 when approached by CBC News.

Of the 26 youth who died, three of the cases were children in foster care, 18 were receiving some form of protective intervention, three were involved with youth services, and the remaining two were with youth corrections.

Eight of the deaths were cited as being caused by a medical event or condition, 12 were accidental, and the remaining six were labelled as suicides.

Chafe is seeking a change in legislation that would make it mandatory for all government departments to relay child death information to her.

In a press release issued late Friday, Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Sandy Collins said his department is working with Chafe.

“Our government respects the role of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, and we remain committed to continue working collaboratively with the advocate and her staff," Collins said in a prepared statement.

"We take any requests and investigations by the advocate very seriously and we have provided the advocate with information not previously requested regarding the deaths of 26 children and youth. In addition, we have mutually agreed upon a process moving forward to advise the advocate when such an unfortunate event occurs, as well as establish regular quarterly meetings to address any questions or concerns the advocate may have.”