18-month-old foster child dies in Edmonton hospital
CTV News has learned an 18-month-old child passed away at the Stollery Children's Hospital Wednesday, two days after an alleged incident at her foster home in Morinville. The child's biological family says it may be a case of shaken baby syndrome.
The biological family tells CTV News the toddler had only been in foster care for about two months. They say the little girl suffered severe brain damage, and that doctors told them the toddler may have been shaken to death.
The toddler was rushed to hospital less than two days ago, and on Wednesday, family and friends confirmed the foster child died because her brain damage was too severe.
The minister of children and youth services confirmed to CTV that an investigation has now been launched.
"It is very heartbreaking when any child is in a life-threatening situation and our thoughts are with this child's family -- that is our foster family and this child's biological family," said Yvonne Fritz.
RCMP in Morninville opened a file into the severe injury of a child on the same night as the alleged incident. So far, no charges have been laid.
This recent occurrence is just the latest facing Alberta's foster care system.
Just last week, a Calgary foster parent was charged with a range of sex crimes against children in his care.
Then in June, an Edmonton foster mom was sentenced to three years in jail for the death of a toddler.
And one year ago, a four-year-old girl in the care of children's services died from head injuries -- her aunt was later charged with murder.
NDP Leader Brian Mason says they've been calling on the government to make improvements.
"They need to improve the recruitment and screening of foster parents; they need to make sure there's enough supervision that's taking place."
The province won't speculate on what caused the latest death, but Fritz admits the system needs to be better.
"It doesn't mean we've done all that we can do to strengthen in our screening process, but that's something the senior staff evaluate on a continual basis."
The child's biological family says the little girl was in foster care because her mother was dealing with some medical health problems.
The province claims privacy laws prevent it from disclosing how long the foster parents have been in the system, or if there are currently other foster children residing in the same home.
With files from CTV's Scott Roberts