Secrecy challenged in Alberta children's deaths

There are renewed calls for more transparency in Alberta's department of children's services.

There are renewed calls for more transparency in Alberta's department of children's services.

The ministry's annual report reveals six children in provincial care died last year — double the number of deaths from 2009.

The number of children in care who were injured also doubled to 20.

"To see those numbers double is shocking and horrifying," said Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman

Under Alberta law the names and the details of the children's deaths or injuries cannot be released.

"The minister keeps saying we can't talk about this to protect the privacy of the children," said Blakeman. "Frankly the privacy of the children is gone when the child is dead.

"It is not acceptable to say sorry we can't talk about this."

Five of the six children who died were aboriginal.

The deaths include three suspected homicides, an accidental overdose, an accidental asphyxiation and a vehicle-pedestrian accident.

The department insists children in the province's care are safe.

"When it's an accidental death, that happens even to children not in the province's care," said children's services spokesman John Tuckwell.

"In fact statistically speaking children in care actually are safer than the general population of kids in Alberta, but again our goal is zero serious injuries and zero deaths."