Youth suicide shows kids in care must be heard: advocate
CALGARY — Alberta’s child and youth advocate says the suicide of a 15-year-old indigenous boy reinforces how crucial it is that children under provincial care be heard. A report by Del Graff recounts the short and troubled life of the boy, called Levi for privacy reasons.
The report details a household marred by addiction, mentalhealth issues and violence, along with many moves between foster homes and kinship care. Graff says he has urged a more child-centric approach to decision- making in past reviews, but there has been minimal progress on those recommendations. The advocate notes there were numerous occasions over the years when Levi made it clear he did not want to be around his mother when she was drinking, but there was no indication his views were acknowledged.
The report also stresses the need for the government to develop ways to identify children early-on who may be at risk of homelessness.