EDMONTON – Alberta’s child and youth advocate says the province must do a better job of preparing young people who are in government care for life as adults.
The recommendation is contained in Del Graff’s report on an indigenous man who was killed nine months after he turned 18.
Graff says the man, known as Peter, had a horrific life growing up and did not get the counselling help he requested and needed.
“Peter was a young man of First Nation heritage who became involved with Child Intervention Services when he was two years old. He spent most of his childhood with relatives until adolescence, when he was taken out of his community and placed in group care. Peter was the victim of a homicide when he was 18 years old,” Graff’s report stated.
“This review highlights the impact of trauma and loss on children and transition planning for vulnerable and complex youth as they reach adulthood. I am making one recommendation and re-stating recommendations contained in previous reviews and calling upon government to act on them.
“Change is needed now.”
He says the province has good policies on the books but needs to do more to ensure that staff understand and act on them.
Graff also notes that his office raised similar concerns to the government in December 2015.
Scroll down to read the full investigative review on 18-year-old Peter.
Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee says the province is working to better deal with the long-term effects of grief, trauma and loss on young people in care.
“While the advocate noted that transition policies are in place, every young person faces different challenges and we have to do more to support them in ways that recognize their unique circumstances,” Minister of Children’s Services Danielle Larivee said. “That’s why we are developing a Cultural Understanding Framework to support staff to deliver services in a way that promotes better outcomes for indigenous children, youth and families.
“We accept the intent of the advocate’s recommendation and will continue to work with the advocate to explore how we can best implement that intent and strengthen the ways we protect and support Alberta’s children and youth.”
With files from Emily Mertz, Global News
© 2017 The Canadian Press