In­crease in child deaths is shock­ing, pre­mier says

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - KELLY GERAL­DINE MAL­ONE

WIN­NIPEG — Man­i­toba’s pre­mier says it is shock­ing to see a spike in the num­ber of chil­dren who have died in the prov­ince.

Chil­dren’s ad­vo­cate Daphne Pen­rose re­leased her an­nual re­port Mon­day which showed 187 chil­dren up to the age of 18 died in 2017-18 — the high­est num­ber of deaths in nearly a decade and up from 148 the year be­fore.

“Any time you read about a child’s death, it’s heart­break­ing and clearly if there’s any­thing we can do bet­ter, we need to find ways to do things bet­ter,” Pre­mier Brian Pal­lis­ter said Tues­day. He said he needs to know more about why the deaths are oc­cur­ring.

The chil­dren’s ad­vo­cate of­fice is re­view­ing 70 cases to see what con­trib­uted to the deaths and whether any­thing can be done to pre­vent sim­i­lar ones.

Most chil­dren — 114 — died from nat­u­ral causes such as pre­ma­ture birth or dis­ease. The ma­jor­ity were un­der two years old.

Twenty-one of the deaths were ruled an ac­ci­dent, in­clud­ing six drown­ings and nine mo­tor ve­hi­cle col­li­sions. There were 20 sui­cides, two homi­cides and 30 were ruled “un­de­ter­mined,” which can in­clude sud­den un­ex­plained in­fant death and sud­den in­fant death syn­drome.

Thir­teen of the chil­dren who died were in govern­ment care; four of them died by sui­cide.

Man­i­toba has the high­est per­capita rate of chil­dren in care and al­most 90 per cent are Indige­nous. But the num­ber of chil­dren in care who have died did not change sig­nif­i­cantly.

JOHN WOODS THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

“If there’s any­thing we can do bet­ter, we need to find ways to do things bet­ter,” Man­i­toba Pre­mier Brian Pal­lis­ter said Tues­day.

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