14-year-old Alberta girl receiving services from the province dies

The government has expanded what can be reported about the deaths of children in care.
The government has expanded what can be reported about the deaths of children in care. File photo

EDMONTON — A 14-year-old girl who was receiving intervention services from the province has died.

According to Alberta Human Services, the girl died on Dec. 19. The government revealed the death, with few details, on its website.

Bound by the confidentiality provisions of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, Alberta Human Services spokesperson Mike Berezowsky was not able to provide any details surrounding the teen’s death.

“I can confirm the girl was not in care, but was receiving intervention services. That can include family counselling, psychiatric treatment, mental health treatment, etc.” Berezowsky said in an email to Global News.

“The loss of a child is an incredibly sad tragedy under any circumstances and is even more difficult this time of year,” he said.

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and everyone involved with her.”

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Berezowsky said that as of the beginning of the holidays, the family was still considering whether to apply for a publication ban, which would prohibit the media from publishing the girl’s name.

Earlier this year, the government introduced changes that allow for the publication of names and photos of children who die in government care. When Bill 11 became law in July, then-Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar promised to introduce a quick way for families to apply to block such publication.

The changes were prompted by a Postmedia newspaper series more than a year ago that revealed gaps in child death investigations and the frustration of families who couldn’t talk publicly about the their loved ones because of the automatic ban on their identities.