The death of a three-year-old indigenous boy who died at the hands of his foster parent in Canada has been ruled as “the fundamental failure” of the workers from Alberta’s Children’s Services who were involved with the case.
In Jan. 26, 2007, Kawliga Potts died from severe head trauma less than two months after he was placed in the home of his foster mom, Lily Choy.
In her 20-page fatality inquiry released Friday, Judge Ferne LeReverend gave a critical indictment of the workers who failed to recognize and do something about the apparent signs of abuse the child was experiencing, reports the CBC.
“Evidence of abuse was present,” the judge wrote. “It was known to five different case workers involved in Lily Choy’s home. None of the workers addressed their minds to what needed to be done to save Kawliga.
“Kawliga Potts’ death was a direct result of the fundamental failure of everyone connected with this child to do their jobs,” LeReverend noted.
The judge further pointed out how rules and procedures were apparently ignored by the workers.
The workers were commended for “exceeding policy expectations for face-to-face contact with him,” via a special case review conducted after the boy’s death.
In 2011, Choy was convicted of manslaughter and after two appeals, her initial sentence of three years was further increased to six years and then stretched again to eight years.
On behalf of Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larrivee, spokesperson Aaron Manton declined to confirm if the case workers still worked for the government. He also did not give confirmation on whether the workers had faced any disciplinary action.
Manton, however, expressed that the government has improved screening for foster parents, and added a mandatory provision to provide support for their first three months and assess them after six months.
Foster parents also now undergo mandatory reassessment if more children are added to the home.
Judge LeReverend noted that some of the recommendations in her report were based on Tim Richter’s column in the Edmonton Journal, published January 2017.
Richter, who served as chair of the 2014 Alberta Child Intervention Implementation Oversight Committee, said in an interview on Friday how the judge’s report echoed some frustration.
“Reading between the lines of this report, I sense there is frustration from the judge,” Richter was quoted as saying. “She said recommendations were made and implemented but the deaths of kids in care continued. And another review panel has been appointed to do another complete review.”