Reports on deaths will be made public: Children's Advocate
Saskatchewan Children's Advocate Marvin Bernstein says he will be launching a thorough investigation into the deaths of two foster children in Saskatchewan and he will be making the results public.
Bernstein was speaking out Tuesday about the death of Evander Daniels, 22 months, who drowned in a bathtub in the Aberdeen area on June 8. The child had been in a foster home at the time of his death.
According to the chief of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Evander was the second boy from their community northwest of Prince Albert to die while in foster care in six months.
Bernstein told CBC News Tuesday that the the preliminary facts of the deaths suggest his office should hold an independent investigation and that's what has been decided.
The investigation will begin on Jan.1 next year and will be completed in May, he said.
The probe can't begin immediately, because his office will need to collect coroners' reports, Social Services child death reviews and police records, and some of those reports have yet to be completed, he said.
The office of the children's advocate will also interview witnesses and make other inquiries as required, he said.
The final report will look at systemic issues in the child welfare system and will make recommendations.
The process will be transparent, he said, noting that there has been a great deal of public interest in the most recent case.
"We are determined we will be making these reports public," he said.
Over the past three years, Bernstein has issued a series of hard-hitting reports on child-welfare in Saskatchewan, including several reports focusing on overcrowding in the foster care system.
The issue of overcrowding may also figure in his upcoming reports, he said.