Teen in provincial care dies in secrecy despite transparency vow

Despite introducing legislation Tuesday to release more information about children who die while, another child's death went undisclosed in an Edmonton group home Monday.

Girl, 15, cannot be identified under Alberta law

The mother of a 15-year-old girl who died in an Edmonton group home this week weeps Thursday as she tells her story. Alberta law prevents the woman or her daughter from being identified. (CBC)

Despite introducing amendments Tuesday aimed at releasing more information about children who die while in provincial care, a 15-year-old girl's death in an Edmonton group home Monday went undisclosed until Thursday. 

The girl, originally from Maskwacis, Alta., hanged herself after struggling with depression. 

On Tuesday, Alberta's Children's Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar tabled Bill 11 aimed at making the child care system more open, accountable, transparent and doing away with a publication ban that applies to children in care even after they die.

But the girl's family are the only people speaking out about the teen's death, a death that need not have happened, the mother told CBC News Thursday. 

The woman, who along with her daughter cannot be named under The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, learned of the tragedy from a police officer on Tuesday.

"'Your daughter committed suicide last night,'" she said she was told.  "'And she's at the medical examiner's office.'

"I asked if I could go see her."

Teen place in group home in October

The 15-year-old was placed in a Edmonton group home in October.  

The mother agreed to a Permanent Guardianship Order two years ago after she was told her daughter, who was struggling with suicidal thoughts and addictions, needed help.

However her daughter did not receive what she needed, she said.

"She was not put back on her medication," she said. "She wasn't doing any psychological testing.  As soon as they moved in there, they just forgot about her."

She said her daughter ended up in the hospital twice after trying to kill herself.

The teen's family said there were many warning signs they believe were ignored.  

The troubled girl expressed her depression in her diary, on her Facebook page, even in her sketchbook, the family said.  

"She kept telling me, 'Mom, I have lots of problems and I don`t know what to do about it — I really need you.'"

The woman believes if her daughter had remained with her, she'd still be alive.

Wants daughter's name public

She now wants her daughter's name made public, but is barred from doing so.

"I wanted it public. Why? Because I want it known. I've asked for help. I pleaded."

CBC News has asked the director of children's service to lift the ban on naming the girl. Eldon Block responded Thursday evening to say the case is under review.

In an email Thursday Bhullar confirmed that a child in care died.

"My thoughts are with this child and family during this very difficult time," he said.

He said Bill 11, if it passes, will empower families "by allowing their names and photographs, as well as the name and photograph of their deceased child, to be published with their stories and viewpoints about their involvement with the child intervention system."

With files from CBC's Janice Johnston