'You can't paint this pretty': Alberta government confirms children still living in home where Serenity was assaulted
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'You can't paint this pretty': Alberta government confirms children still living in home where Serenity was assaulted

Children are still living in the household where a girl in government care suffered from malnutrition, hypothermia and eventual death from a traumatic head injury, Children's Services Minister Danielle Larivee confirmed Tuesday.

Larivee said only evidence of abuse or neglect could lead to the children being apprehended and the ministry has been closely monitoring the household since Serenity died in 2014. She wouldn't specify how often checks are made.

"If there were safety concerns identified, they would have been removed from the home," Larivee said at the legislature Tuesday, after an initial report was published by CBC Edmonton.

A criminal investigation into Serenity's death is still underway, but no charges have been laid. In speaking to reporters and during question period, Larivee and Premier Rachel Notley both stressed that the children in the home aren't in government care.

"Those children are home. Those children are in their home," said Larivee.

"It is the policy of this government that we are following that we never place children in care into a setting where there is a criminal investigation involved," said Notley.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean opened up question period blasting the government for "allowing what happened to Serenity to happen again."

"While we’ve been asking for answers on the death of Serenity, we don’t know if the other six children in that home are even safe today," said Jean.

Serenity's death led recently to a ministerial panel on the child intervention system to help fix what Notley described as "systemic" problems.

The panel has completed three months of meetings and made recommendations to improve the child death review process. Progressive Conservative panel member Ric McIver said the opposition had been cutting the government some slack with regards to the panel "because they said they cared."

He said allowing children to live in the home where Serenity was assaulted puts that into question.

"It's inexcusable. It's incompetent. It's uncaring," said McIver.

"I'm often disappointed around here, but seldom shocked," he said. "I don't need to exaggerate how bad this is. You can't paint this pretty."

The case to apprehend the children would be made by the delegated First Nations child welfare authorities, or DFNA, on the reserve. These agencies are funded by the federal government but conform to provincial child welfare standards.

Since their inception in the 1990s, the DFNAs have been chronically underfunded, receiving less funding per child than kids in provincial care off-reserve.



source : Calgary SUN
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