Alberta judge allows ID of baby who died in care
An Alberta Court of Queen's Bench judge has lifted a publication ban on the identity of a four-month-old baby girl who died in government care six days after she was seized from her mother.
"The publication of Delonna Sullivan's name Pursuant to Section 126.2(2)(ii) of the Child Youth & Family Enhancement Act, is hereby granted," Justice M.D. Gates states in an order granted Thursday in Edmonton.
In his ruling, the judge said naming the little girl is "a matter of public interest."
"The community and citizens of Edmonton and Alberta have substantial interest in the welfare of all children in this province," he said.
The order was sought by Delonna's mother, Jamie Sullivan. Sullivan first went public with the story of her daughter's death in June, but Alberta's notoriously restrictive Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act prohibited the media from identifying her or her daughter.
Government of Alberta lawyer Kate Bridget told the judge that the government "neither consents nor objects to the application."
Sullivan welcomed the opportunity to finally show the public her daughter's picture.
"She's my little angel. I mean I should be able to say her name and show her picture to anybody and to have somebody tell me that I can't, really made me angry," she said outside the courthouse.
"How can you tell me that I can't show her picture to people. People can't see that — how healthy she was, how happy she was. Why does that have to be hidden?"
Sullivan's baby was taken away on April 5, 2011, after two social workers and an RCMP officer went to her home in central Alberta. They had an order to apprehend the children of an unrelated person who lived in the home.
They ended up seizing Sullivan's baby and placing her in foster care, believing there was "disharmony in the home."
According to documents obtained by CBC News, social workers also believed Sullivan had an alcohol problem — an allegation she denies.
Delonna died on April 11, six days after being placed in foster care.
Sullivan is still seeking answers about what happened. The provincial government says Delonna's death is under investigation. Autopsy results are expected by the end of the month.
Sullivan's lawyer, Larry McConnell, called the ruling a landmark decision that can be used by mothers in similar circumstances.
With files from the CBC's Trish Estabrooks