Source: Foster death rally planned
Sullivan’s infant daughter Delonna died April 11, just six days after she was taken from her home by two social workers and an RCMP officer.
The trio of officials were executing an apprehension order for children of an unrelated person staying at the house and seized Delonna as well, eventually placing her in an Edmonton foster home.
“I was begging them to just let me take her home with me,” said Koren. “They took her without an apprehension order, and 100% if she was left at home, she’d still be alive today.”
Sullivan has been telling her story every since, and last year she successfully won a court order to lift a publication ban on her daughter’s identity.
According to Koren, Delonna was seized because social workers at the home believed Sullivan may have had an alcohol problem — a problem her mother says does not exist.
“They just started accusing Jamie, there was no proof,” she said. “Delonna was happy and beautiful and healthy and they just took her away.”
Koren says she, and her daughter still don’t know what led to her child’s mysterious death.
“The autopsy was ‘inconclusive’ and they called it an ‘unexplained death’,” said Koren through tears Saturday. “We could never know, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop it from repeating.”
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Another article: Go public when children die in care, say protesters
“We believe in accountability and we believe in truth. We want the deaths of children to end,” said Velvet Martin, whose daughter Samantha died at age 13 after spending most of her life in foster care. A report from a fatality inquiry into the teen’s death is expected any day.
The local chapter of the small national organization wants the provincial government to publicly state how many children die in care each year, and to lift the ban preventing parents from publicly naming children after they’ve died in care.
The provincial government also needs to do better investigations before children are taken from their parents, and respond faster if anyone has concerns about the child’s health or safety while they are in foster homes, said Jamie Sullivan, whose four-month-old daughter Delonna died in care one year ago Wednesday.
Both Martin and Sullivan fought in court for the right to publicly name and share pictures of their children. They believe they are the only two parents of foster children in Alberta with the right to do so.
Sullivan says they had no legal right to apprehend her daughter.
Martin said her daughter seemed sick and had diarrhea when she held her on a supervised visit three days later. She said she asked the social worker to take the child to the hospital, but that wasn’t done until the next Monday, three days later. She said the child died about two hours after reaching the hospital.
“I knew my daughter was sick but they took away all my rights to protect my child,” said Sullivan, adding that she is working with a lawyer to file a lawsuit.
Roxanne Dube Coelho, spokeswoman for Alberta Human Services, said department officials would not comment on individual cases.
She said it is legal for social workers to apprehend a child without a court order if they believe the child is in immediate danger. Such a case must go to a judge within 10 days.
Dube Coelho said the provincial government will, for the first time, publish the number of children who died in care in their annual report this summer. Until now, they have only been publishing the number of children who die from injuries, not illness.