Boy, 7, drowned in Edmonton pool after short, tragic life
Fleeting relationships, empty promises foiled boy's care plan, child advocate says
Alberta's child and youth advocate has issued a set of five recommendations in a report detailing the tragic life and death of a little boy who drowned in an Edmonton pool 1 1/2 years ago while in the province's care.
The boy was seven years old when he drowned at the pool at the O'Leary Leisure Centre while on an outing with a group home he'd been recently be placed in.
The boy was born in the Maritimes to parents, both cocaine addicts, who moved to Alberta when he was four.
Jack, described as bright, polite and articulate, was placed into foster care a year later.
The report details how the child struggled as various caregivers came and went from his life, along with the empty promises of his parents that he would be soon moving back home.
When in school the boy acted out violently, saying he was angry and sad. His aggressive behaviour became too much for the woman who was supposed to give him a permanent home.
He was placed in a group home, but died 11 days later.
In his report, child advocate Del Graff said more attention should be paid to the relationships a child forms when they are in care and that suddenly ending those relationships are harmful to the child.
The five recommendations focus on better coordination among agencies and caregivers, and dealing with court delays that leave children in care uncertain about where they will be placed.
In a written statement, Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar said that his thoughts and prayers are with the boy and his family
"I have instructed staff to set up a meeting with the Child and Youth Advocate to discuss this report further," he said.
"I want to also hear from the Quality Council and other stakeholders on these recommendations so that we can take steps to make the system better and learn from this tragedy.
"I will also be working with the Minister of Justice to see how the justice system can better support our children.”