Social Development

Recommendations of child death review committee released (08/11/10)

NB 1663

Nov. 10, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The recommendations made by the child death review committee, which reviewed the case of a six-month-old child who died of natural causes, have been released by Social Development Minister Mary Schryer.

The committee was established to investigate the deaths of children younger than 19 years of age who were in the legal care of the minister, or whose families were in contact with the child protection system within 12 months prior to the deaths of the children.

"I will issue a full response to the committee's recommendations within 45 days of making them public," said Schryer. "I would like to thank the child death review committee for its review of this case and their recommendations. Our government will consider all recommendations that improve our child welfare system."

The committee made three recommendations after reviewing the case:

Recommendation 1

Whenever a psychological assessment is ordered, it should include interviews and assessments of both parents living in the home. None of the interviewers had a satisfactory explanation for not including (fathers' name withheld) in the assessment.

Recommendation 2

Before closing a file, a permanency planning committee meeting is held to review the current situation. As recommended in other reports by this committee, these meetings should be attended by all the service providers in order to ensure that all the information is available to the department. In this instance, there were no representatives from the office of the public health nurse; early childhood intervention; the family support worker; and the psychologist (who had completed a significant assessment two months earlier). This would provide a forum for service providers to discuss risk factors and, in this case, for the psychologist to clarify specific recommendations for addressing the risk factors that she noted in her report.

Recommendation 3

Access to psychological resources and remedial assistance should be provided to children in a timely manner. (Sibling's name withheld) required this assistance for his hyperactivity, but no assessment was ordered despite the clear indications of the need for it in the psychological report.

08/11/10

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Hagerman, communications, Social Development, 506-444-2416.

08/11/10