Youth sui­cide shows kids in care must be heard: ad­vo­cate

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

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.

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