Child and youth advocate to review death of toddler in Little Grand Rapids First Nation
Boy, 3, was unresponsive when brought into the community nursing station Thursday afternoon
The Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth has confirmed the death of a three-year-old child in Little Grand Rapids will be reviewed by its office.
Ainsley Krone, a spokesperson for the office, says the child's death falls within the scope of its mandate.
If the child or any siblings have received reviewable services from child and family services in the 12 months before the death, the advocate's office will review it, she explained.
The advocate may elevate the review to a full investigation, based on results of the initial review.
Preventing other deaths
"The death of any child is a tragedy and our hearts are with the family of this young child at such a devastating time," she said in an email.
"Our goal with conducting reviews is to examine which public services were involved with the family and then to identify any gaps which could be improved so that children and their families are able to access public services that best meet their needs and which have the greatest chance of preventing deaths of other children and youth in the future."
Krone said that in cases where there is a criminal investigation underway, it may hold off on concluding its investigation so it does not interfere with the criminal case.
Province won't elaborate
The province refused to say Monday if the child was ever in the care of Child and Family Services, but an official indicated the province is in contact with the agency.
"The province is gathering information from the overseeing Child and Family Services authority and mandated agency in that region," Andrea Slobodian, press secretary for Families Minister Heather Stefanson wrote in an email.
She referenced the provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, which can review a death if some CFS service was offered to the child or their family within the preceding 12 months.
"Given that there is an active RCMP investigation and legislation that protects identities and circumstances in these situations, we cannot — and will not — confirm any details in this case."
RCMP in Little Grand Rapids say Thursday afternoon an unresponsive child was brought to the nursing station from his residence.
The child was later pronounced dead.
The RCMP's Major Crimes Unit is now investigating.
On Monday, RCMP say there is still an active investigation and an autopsy is pending.
With files from Meaghan Ketcheson, Sarah Petz and Ian Froese