Child Intervention Review Panel Updates

This resource page includes 4 sections

1 ALIGN initiatives and communications related to the Alberta Child Review Panel
2 Alberta Government information, updates, communications and meeting minutes
3 OCYA Investigative Review
4  News Articles 


May 11, 2017

Dear ALIGN Members,

Over the next few months we have an incredible opportunity to ensure that The Child Intervention Panel (currently tasked with reviewing and revising the current child welfare system in Alberta) are informed, encouraged, educated and influenced by agencies, educators and the families who receive service. ALIGN is preparing to make a presentation to the panel regarding the work that sector agencies do and the need for resourcing the valuable information agencies can contribute.  We expect that they will be interested in hearing from various sectors such as group care, kinship and foster care.

The Panel members currently have a basic knowledge regarding intergenerational trauma, the CORE story, child development, and the importance of early intervention among other areas of importance.  Over the next 2 months they have expressed interest in furthering their understanding and awareness in these and related areas. Your submissions and presentation will provide them further insights and assist them to better determine what they require additional information on.

It is likely that time lines for presentations will be very short; therefore, I would suggest that agencies collaborate if possible when making written submissions and include an offer to present if you feel it is appropriate.  Share your thoughts with the panel

A few recommendations:

I highly encourage you to listen to the live stream audio segments of the child intervention panel.  You can listen to them by going to Panel Meetings

  • If there a group of you doing the same or similar work and you feel that the panel needs to know about it, do a joint submission.
  • Don’t put too many issues into a submission. Try to keep it to one or two issues so that they can absorb the importance of your concern.  Make separate submissions for each topic area you want them to hear about.
  • Use the guideline on the website Share your thoughts with the panel
  • If there is research that backs up your point, attach it to the submission but don’t send books. Find relevant adequate article and send the link to them if you can.


If you are sending in a submission or presentations, please submit a copy to me at  so we can include it on our ALIGN Review Panel Page  – this will assist members to avoid repetition.  The panel is only sitting to August 1, 2017 so don’t delay – if you want to say something now is the time!

Thank you, if you have any questions or want any advice on this please don’t hesitate to email or call me

Rhonda Barraclough
Executive Director ALIGN Association for Community Services 780 233.5459


Please submit your presentation or submission to  to be posted here.

ALIGN Response to Budget March 19, 2017
No increases or fore-casted increases. In Children’s Services most increases went to growth caseload areas; financial and support agreements and advancing futures bursary funds.  The 60 FTE’s announced are to be put into the system in these growth areas.  Exactly where is still to be determined. Senior staff are optimistic that funds will come with future recommendations made by the Child Intervention Review Panel….

ALIGN Request for Agency Participation on Review Panel Dec. 2016


Alberta Government Child Intervention Panel Web Page.

Meeting Summary Minutes and Audio Recording

Children’s Services Minister Responds to OCYA Report May 24, 2017

Children’s Services Minister Responds to OCYA Report March 14, 2017

Children’s Services Minister Responds to OCYA Report Feb 1, 2017


Through the investigative review process, services provided to a young person are examined. Findings and recommendations are identified to help make systemic changes.  Final reports are non-identifying and made public.


Child advocate tells government to listen to at-risk children after heart-rending teen suicide No indication that 15-year-old’s concerns were acknowledged, Del Graff writes in latest report By Gareth Hampshire, CBC News May 24, 2017

Alberta’s child and youth advocate is making an impassioned plea to the government’s child-intervention system to do a better job of listening to children the system is helping.

In a report released Wednesday, Del Graff says there is a pressing need for the government to develop an approach that concentrates on the children after the suicide death of a 15-year-old First Nations boy in Alberta more than two years ago…

College of Physicians tells members to report youth who use fentanyl to Children’s Services Edmonton Journal May 13, 2017
The bulletin refers to an unidentified Alberta doctor who was reportedly treating a minor, under the age of 18, for addiction. According the college, the doctor had known for three years that the young patient was using fentanyl. But the doctor never contacted Children’s Services.

“In this case, the physician had an obligation to notify proper authorities because of the significant risk of an accidental fentanyl overdose by the minor,” Dr. Michael Caffaro, the college’s assistant registrar and complaints director, told his members.

“I hope this reminds all physicians of their duty to report in such circumstances.”

Media has Serenity foster home facts wrong, but minister won’t correct record CBC News Edmonton May  10, 2017
Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee says the media is reporting outdated facts about the number and ages of children living with the former foster parents of Serenity, a little girl whose 2014 death shocked people across the province.

You Can’t Paint This Pretty’ Province confirms there is still children in home where Serenity was assaulted pressreader May 10, 2017

Premier, minister under fire over latest revelations in Serenity case CBC News May 10, 2017

‘It’s shocking’: Opposition asks why children are still living in Serenity foster home CBC News May 10, 2017
Evidence that children are still living in the home where a little Alberta girl suffered fatal injuries is proof the provincial child welfare system is dangerously broken, says the official opposition…

.‘You can’t paint this pretty’: Alberta government confirms children still living in home where Serenity was assaulted Edmonton Sun May 10, 2017
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…

Alberta child intervention panel hears how culture of fear could result in information being withheld Edmonton Sun May 10, 2017

First Nations health leader added to Alberta child intervention panel Calgary May 8, 2017

Paula Simons: Crisis management for Alberta’s two-tier child welfare system Edmonton Journal May 8, 2017

Tyler White, CEO for Siksika Health Services, is joining the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention May 8, 2017
A past winner of the First Nations Health Manager’s Award of Excellence, White will help the panel identify ways to better support First Nations, Metis and Aboriginal families and communities, as well as strengthen the ways the government supports Indigenous children, youth and families

Alberta NDP Vow To Fix Child Welfare System With Spring Legislation Opposition MLA Questions ‘Ludicrous’ Review Panel Process Edmonton Sun March 30, 2017
The NDP government is prepared to introduce legislation this spring to begin making fixes to the child welfare system, Children Services Minister Danielle Larivee said Thursday.But as Alberta’s child intervention panel met in Calgary for the first time, opposition MLAs on the committee are expressing frustration around the process…

NDP Vows Quick Action But Opposition Frustrated As Child Intervention Panel Meets In Calgary / Calgary Herald March 30, 2017
The NDP government is prepared to introduce legislation this spring to begin fixing the child welfare system, Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee said Thursday. But as Alberta’s ministerial child intervention panel met in Calgary for the first time, opposition MLAs on the committee are expressing frustration around the process.
The panel was created after revelations about the death of Serenity, who was in government care in 2014 when she died of a traumatic head injury suffered while living in a kinship care program with private guardians

March 14, 2017 Child and Youth Advocate releases investigative review involving death of an 18-year-old man
The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has completed an Investigative Review regarding the death of a young man and is publicly releasing the results of the review as outlined under the Child and Youth Advocate Act.

Young homicide victim’s voice not heard by child-welfare system, advocate says in report By Nola Keeler, CBC News March 14, 2017
A new report from Alberta’s child advocate into the life and death of an 18-year-old Indigenous man calls on the government to do a better job of transitioning troubled young people out of care. “The Ministry of Children’s Services should ensure that policies regarding transitioning youth out of care are fully understood and implemented,” Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff wrote in his investigative review into the case of a homicide victim he calls Peter…

Family voices are needed in child death reviews: Ministerial Panel member By Gareth Hampshire CBC News March 1,2017
One of the members of the Ministerial Panel on Alberta’s child intervention system is pressing the government to include families more when examining the circumstances behind their children’s deaths in care. Patti LaBoucane-Benson delivered the message to a senior official in the Children’s Services department at the latest panel meeting Tuesday…

‘If they can’t give the answer, then why are we here?’: Culture of secrecy prompts outburst at child intervention panel
Emma Graney Edmonton Journal February 22, 2017
Opposition members of the government’s child intervention review panel worry a veil of secrecy and bureaucratic protectionism around child welfare will impede changes to the system. Time and again over the three panel meetings so far, social workers and managers have declined to give their opinions, lobbing the ball back into the court of panel members with, “That’s for you to decide…”

Alberta child intervention panel holds 2nd meeting By Slav Kornik and Phil Heidenreich Global News Feb 9, 2017
A non-partisan panel tasked with finding ways to improve the province’s review process when a child dies in government care is holding its second meeting Thursday. The public is is invited attend the Ministerial panel on Child Intervention’s meeting at the Federal House in Edmonton Thursday morning…

To Fix Child Services Address Negative Narrative Around Indigenous People: Director By: Kevin Maimann Metro Published on Tue Feb 07 2017
Bent Arrow is one of several groups contracted by the Alberta government to provide support workers for parents who are struggling to care for their children. Bent Arrow Executive Director Cheryl Whiskeyjack is speaking out about the need for change in Alberta’s child welfare system. This is the second part of a three-part series examining Alberta’s child welfare system. Read Part 1 ‘Completely unfair’: Edmonton mother fighting to get her children out of government care The director of an organization working with families in the child welfare system says poverty and attitudes toward Indigenous people need to be addressed before the system can be fixed.

Death of Disabled Alberta Teen Raises More Questions About Kids in Care Feb 7, 2017 Alberta Child Advocate wants improvements after 19 year old died following move to group home
By Gareth Hampshire, CBC News Posted: Feb 07, 2017
The 2014 death of a severely disabled Alberta teenager from a group home has prompted the Child and Youth Advocate to again call for improvements to the province’s child-intervention system.

OCYA Investigative Review: 19-Year-Old Ernie Child and Youth Advocate releases investigative review involving death of a disabled young man Feb 7, 2017
Edmonton…The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has completed an Investigative Review regarding the death of a young disabled man and is publicly releasing the results of the review as outlined under the Child and Youth Advocate Act. Read the full News Release here. Read the report “19-Year-Old Ernie” here.

Child Intervention Review Panel Must Adopt Transparency: Wildrose By Gateway Gazette / February 6, 2017
The NDP government must increase transparency and accountability at the child intervention review panel, Wildrose Shadow Human Services Minister Jason Nixon said. There is currently no live-streaming video of the panel’s proceedings nor are there any transcripts for panel members, the media, or the public to go back and reference. “Given the important work that this panel is doing we ought to be meeting in committee rooms in the Federal Building,” Nixon said. “Doing so would provide easier access for media and the general public as well as provide teleconference and livestreaming capabilities.”

Fatality inquiry’s status questioned in light of newly formed child intervention review panel Michelle LePage Edmonton Journal February 3, 2017
A fatality inquiry into the death of a three-year-old boy who died in foster care will continue as planned after questions arose in court about potential overlap between the hearing and Alberta’s new child intervention review panel…

Paula Simons: Child death review panel opens with disturbing new numbers Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal Published on: February 2, 2017
The most disturbing thing we learned at the first session of the province’s new all-party child intervention review panel wasn’t the number of children who’ve died in provincial care. What was far more shocking was the number who’ve died while the province was figuring out whether to apprehend them — or after they’d been returned to their families…

Panel reviewing deaths of children in care criticized for lack of First Nations representative
‘The lack of that information being at the table will really water down the review’ By Kim Trynacity, CBC News Posted: Feb 02, 2017 3:25 PM MT Last Updated: Feb 03, 2017 A panel asked to find ways to improve Alberta’s child-intervention system is being criticized for not including a First Nations representative. Aside from MLAs from each political party, the panel includes three expert advisors with backgrounds in child welfare or aboriginal family issues. One member, Patti Laboucane-Benson, is director of research and evaluation for Native Counseling Services of Alberta, and identifies as Métis-Ukrainian. Since April 2014, a total of 73 children have died while receiving government services. Forty-two of those children were Indigenous, according to information from Children’s Services…

10,000 reasons to get it right’: Alberta child intervention panel meets for first time Panel struck after serious concerns were raised about the death of four-year-old Serenity in 2014 By Kim Trynacity, Natasha Riebe, CBC News Posted: Feb 01, 2017 The first meeting of Alberta’s latest child-intervention panel was fraught with questions and criticisms about how transparent it will be and who will be allowed to participate. The panel, made up of opposition and government MLAs and experts in social work, does not include children or families actually involved with the child-care system…

Privacy vs. lived experience: Child intervention panel’s balancing act Edmonton Journal Feb 1, 2017
Shauna Parks was a teenager in government care when she contributed to an overhaul of Alberta’s child welfare act 20 years ago. Now with a master’s degree in social work, she traveled Wednesday to Edmonton from Calgary for the first meeting of the province’s child intervention panel…

Social Work professor named to provincial government child review panel Bruce MacLaurin chosen for his expertise in child welfare policy and service delivery By Don McSwiney, Faculty of Social Work UToday January 23, 2017
Bruce MacLaurin, professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, was chosen by the Alberta government as one of three expert advisers to the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention, reflecting his extensive research and expertise in child welfare policy and service delivery, child welfare, and foster care outcomes and youth at risk. “I’m excited about the work that is coming,” says MacLaurin. “I’m looking forward to the important agenda we’ll be tackling in the coming months. I think it’s important to have representatives from all parties around the table, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate and to come up with some solid recommendations to protect Alberta’s children in the future…

Merwan Saher comments on findings of report on Indigenous children in care CBC News Jan 24, 2017
Children’s Services needs people with project management skills, auditor general says Merwan Saher comments on findings of report on Indigenous children in care

Serenity’s mom hopes for change: Alberta continues focus on fixing child welfare Edmonton Journal January 25, 2017
As the push to change Alberta’s broken child welfare system continues, Serenity’s mom plans to keep talking about her four-year-old daughter’s death…

Members of province’s child intervention review panel unveiled Edmonton Journal January 18,2017
A professor, a social worker and a director of the Native Counselling Services of Alberta will provide the provincial government with expert advice to try and fix the province’s broken child welfare system.

Peter Choate, registered social worker and assistant professor at Mount Royal University, Bruce MacLaurin, professor at the University of Calgary’s social work faculty and Patti LaBoucane-Benson, research and evaluation director at NCSA, have agreed to join five NDP MLAs, and one from each opposition party, to take a magnifying glass to child intervention. More details of the panel are expected Wednesday, including the date of the first meeting….

Need to expand powers of Alberta’s child advocate suggested by auditor general CBC News January 17, 2017
Alberta’s auditor general has put forward ideas that would give the province’s child and youth advocate more clout, and compel bureaucrats to explain how they follow or ignore recommendations from the advocate’s office.

“Reports from my office are automatically referred to a standing committee of the (legislative) assembly,” said Auditor General Merwan Saher. “That’s not the case with the child and youth advocate.”

Saher submitted his ideas to an all-party legislative committee reviewing the Child and Youth Advocate Act. He said he waded into the discussion after seeing the differences between how recommendations from his office are handled compared to what happens to recommendations made by the child and youth advocate…

Death of four-year-old Alberta girl prompts demand for changes to kinship care Keith Geren Edmonton Sun November 17, 2016
The traumatic death of a malnourished four-year-old girl has prompted Alberta’s child and youth advocate to demand the provincial government bolster safeguards for children removed from their parents and placed in the home of relatives.

Death of four-year-old Alberta girl prompts demand for changes to kinship care Keith Geren Edmonton Sun November 17, 2016
The traumatic death of a malnourished four-year-old girl has prompted Alberta’s child and youth advocate to demand the provincial government bolster safeguards for children removed from their parents and placed in the home of relatives.


Alberta Child Welfare Class Action  (Deadline January 15, 2017)


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