A panel of child experts and policy makers gathered at the University of Alberta Tuesday to discuss how to improve Alberta’s child welfare system.

The roundtable discussion comes after an Edmonton Journal investigation found that 3-times the number of children had died in the province’s care than had been reported.

From January 1, 1999 to September 30, 2013, 149 children passed away in care. An additional 84 children, whose families were receiving support, also died.

The two-day event is being webcast for live public viewing, and Albertans are encouraged to participate by asking questions online. People who registered in advance have the opportunity to engage with a panel expert in an online chat.

Some of the topics being focused on in the roundtable include:

  • What supports a full investigation into the death or serious injury of a child?
  • What steps should be taken to improve investigations involving a child receiving child intervention services?
  • What information should be available about child deaths or serious injuries?
  • What changes should Alberta consider with respect to the publication ban for children who have received or are receiving child intervention services?

“Let’s remind ourselves where we are as a country, how we looked at these cases 20-years ago, how we looked at them 10-years ago, how we are improving practice from a year ago and the misclassification in the past,” said Gordon Paneuf, Executive Director of the Child Welfare League of Canada. “There’s much, much more to learn.”

A summary of the roundtable discussion will be released in February and a final report will be presented during the spring session of the Legislature.