May 14, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A response was issued today by Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock to the recommendations made by the Child Death Review Committee on April 8.
"We are committed to preserving the safety and welfare of all New Brunswick children," said Lamrock. "I thank the Child Death Review Committee for its recommendations, and for the work that it does to help the government ensure that our child welfare system responds to the needs of children and their families."
The committee was established to investigate the deaths of children younger than 19 who were in the legal care of the minister; or whose families were in contact with the child welfare system within 12 months prior to their death. One of the objectives of the committee is to make recommendations that will lead to improvements to prevent future deaths and to improve services to children.
Last month the committee issued three recommendations through the Office of the Chief Coroner, Department of Public Safety. Under the terms of reference of the committee, the Department of Social Development must respond to recommendations within 45 days.
Following are the three recommendations from the Child Death Review Committee and the responses:
Recommendation: That the Department of Social Development have a qualified mental health professional assess every child who has suicidal thoughts and/or threatens suicide.
Response: A protocol between the departments of Social Development and Health respecting children-in-care of the minister of Social Development who are suicidal or have suicidal ideation was updated in July 2009. This protocol outlines the procedures to be followed when a child in the care of the minister threatens suicide and ensures that these children are assessed by a qualified mental-health professional.
Recommendation: That the Department of Social Development consider all incidents of suicidal thoughts or threats collectively rather than individually.
Response: The protocol was updated in 2009 to include the development of a Safety Net Plan for the child/youth. The Safety Net Plan is to be developed to ensure that suicidal threats are considered collectively.
The minister of Social Development will continue to work jointly with the minister of Health, according to the protocol to ensure safety net plans are developed ensuring suicidal threats are considered collectively. The department will also ensure that an annual reminder is sent to foster parents and group homes that they must report any incidence of suicidal threats or ideation to the child's social worker.
Recommendation: That the Department of Social Development take action on the recommendations resulting from their internal review which this Committee endorses.
Response: The Department of Social Development has implemented all the recommendations resulting from the internal review.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tracey Burkhardt, communications, Department of Social Development, 506-444-2416.