Alberta law could allow families to ID children who die in care
Amendments to publication ban would allow families to talk and show pictures publicly
The Alberta government plans to lift the publication ban on identifying children who have died in foster care, according to the provinces minister of human services.
The change would allow families to talk and show pictures of their child publicly.
Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar told CBC Edmonton he'll introduce legislation to amend the publication ban.
“It should not be governments that makes decisions on whether or not they speak up and identify a child that passed away, it should be those closest to the child,” Bhullar said.
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Last year the provincial government announced 145 children died in government care from 1999 to 2013. That’s 89 more than what was originally reported.
Velvet Martin's 13-year-old daughter Samantha died after spending most of her life in foster care.
Martin had to go to court to allow the name of her daughter to be made public.
“I think everybody should have the right to speak of their loved ones,” she said.
Over a month ago the Alberta government organized a round table discussion to discuss the province’s foster care system.
Currently Alberta is one of two provinces with a total ban on the identities of children who die in government care.
Martin said dropping the ban will show how serious an issue foster children deaths are in the province.
"It's not to benefit the media, it's actually to benefit the public,” she said. “Silence doesn't do any good for anyone. We need to admit that they're wrongs happening so that we can correct it.”
Bhullar said he plans to do more consultations in the upcoming weeks and changes to the law are expected within the next couple of months.