British Columbia

Alex Gervais death: At least 1 other child in B.C. care is living in a hotel

B.C. teenager Alex Gervais was in provincial care, but had lived for months alone and unsupervised in a hotel when he fell to his death. The minister for children and families says at least one other youth in provincial care is living in a hotel, despite ministry policies aimed at preventing placement in one.

Death of Alex Gervais raises troubling questions around why ministry's own policies are not being followed

Stepanie Cadieux, B.C.'s minister for children and families, says she has learned of one other youth in B.C. care who is living in a hotel. Her comment came about a week after a teen in provincial care died from a fall from a fourth-floor hotel window. (CBC)

B.C. teenager Alex Gervais was in provincial care, but had lived for months alone and unsupervised in a hotel when he fell to his death about a week ago.

Now, the minister for children and families says at least one other youth in provincial care is living in a hotel, despite ministry policies aimed at preventing placement in one. 

"The provincial director of child welfare assures me that it is an appropriate circumstance in this other case," Stephanie Cadieux told CBC. "However, we are not satisfied that notification wasn't made to the provincial directorate of child welfare so it could be tracked properly."

The revelation was made nearly a week after 18-year-old Gervais died falling from a fourth-floor hotel window in Abbotsford.

On Thursday, six days after Gervais's death, Cadieux admitted she still had no idea who within the foster care system placed Gervais in the hotel, or why her ministry's own guidelines around youth placement in hotels were not followed. 

"Ministry policy and practice is not to place youth or children in hotels except in extremely rare circumstances," said Cadieux. "And when that happens, it is policy that it is to be approved by a designated director and reported to the directorate of child welfare. It would appear in this case that that did not happen." 

​Cadieux says a review is underway, but it will take time.

"We can't jump to conclusions. That would be irresponsible," she said.

B.C. Opposition Leader John Horgan is calling on Cadieux to resign. 

"I don't know how many swings at the plate you get," he said. "We need to stop defending the ministry and start defending children."

CBC host looks for answers to teen's death in ministry care 6:15

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