Alberta child intervention panel drafts 26 recommendations for government approval

After five months of delays, Alberta's child intervention panel approved 26 draft recommendations for the government on Wednesday.

Action plan on recommendations due in June

Some members of the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention posed for a photo Wednesday after approving 26 draft recommendations. (CBC)

After five months of delays and 35 meetings, Alberta's child intervention panel approved 26 draft recommendations for the government on Wednesday.

The Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention added two new recommendations Wednesday, which focus on working more with Indigenous communities and developing an action plan.  

The draft recommendations were not made public prior to Wednesday's meeting but a copy given to CBC News shows they focus around reconciliation, strengthening policies around family assessment and creating culturally-appropriate mental health and addiction services.

The recommendations are part of the second phase of the review into Alberta's child intervention system. The panel made recommendations in the first phase ot its work, which looked specifically at how the province reviews the deaths of children in government care. 

Panel member Patti LaBoucane-Benson says Wednesday's recommendations will now need more public input. 

"I think the operational plan needs to include community stakeholders. Not consultation," she said. "They need to have an active voice in that plan."

Draft recommendations will be sent to the government

Children's Services Minister Danielle Larivee has committed to following the panel's suggestions.

Details of the 2014 death of a four-year-old Indigenous girl in kinship care named Serenity prompted the government to create a task force made up of MLAs and child welfare experts in December 2016.

This is the seventh review of children's services in Alberta since 2008.

The Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention held its first meeting in February 2017. (CBC)

Panel member and Alberta Party MLA Greg Clark hopes the government takes action on Wednesday's recommendations.

"I think we got to a good place," said Clark. "There's still work to do to make sure the recommendations we see here see the light of day and real change actually happens."

The action plan is due by the end of June.