OCYA’s report shows change desperately needed in child intervention process

MLA David Swann and Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan are calling the government to act on the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate’s latest report into the tragic deaths of three young children of Indigenous heritage.

David Swann points specifically to the role and support for Delegated First Nations Agencies (DFNAs) as a key part of the issue. “A successful transition of a child from government care back to their families relies on the DFNA,” he says. “However, funding for these agencies is inadequate, particularly for band designates who act as the link between the band and Children’s Services. The lack of support for the DFNAs at both the provincial and federal levels is a recurring and longstanding issue. They simply do not have the resources or time to effectively collaborate with the individuals and organizations involved.”

“Once again this report highlights the serious changes that still need to be made to the child intervention system,” adds Khan, whose legal career specializes in Indigenous Law. “In addition to his recommendations from the three cases he investigated, the Advocate repeated a call from eight months ago to enhance policies and procedures around family unification. We need to start seeing real change in how this system is run.”

“The deaths of Sarah, Anthony, and Mikwan are unspeakably tragic and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” Khan concludes. “We can only hope that we can learn from the circumstances surrounding their deaths and improve our systems so it does not happen again.”


Concerns for children remaining at Serenity’s former foster home

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is concerned for the safety and well-being of children remaining in the same home as Serenity.

“The latest revelation that other children remain in the same home and under the same guardianship as Serenity before her life came to a tragic end is both deeply troubling and raises serious questions as to who is responsible, why no charges have been laid, and whether these children are in danger.” says Swann. “Since we know so little about the circumstances surrounding Serenity’s death, there must be a heightened level of scrutiny by the authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of these children.”


Edmonton Journal: Changes coming this spring as child intervention panel enters second phase

Liberal party panel member David Swann said Thursday there needs to be an objective review of that change.

“In 2014, we were so concerned about the government hiding information that we wanted to open everything up,” Swann said. “Now we realize the families affected feel they have no capacity to make a timely decision given the grief they’re in.”

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Calgary Herald: NDP vows quick action but opposition frustrated as child intervention panel meets in Calgary

Liberal Leader David Swann said he thinks the panel is working but the collaborative process involved “takes a heck of a long time.”

“There’s a lot of differences and a lot of different understandings,” he said.

“It’s as robust as I think we can make it and it’s going to take time and it’s going to be challenging to come to some concrete decisions.”

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