Alberta minister rejects calls for resignation over death of girl after she was in government care

WATCH: Global News' ongoing coverage of the 2014 death of a four-year-old Alberta girl known only as Serenity. The girl's death in kinship care has raised questions about how to protect children in government care.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally indicated Serenity died while in kinship care. However, on Oct. 6, 2017, Alberta’s Ministry of Children’s Services clarified that although it was through the kinship care program that she was put in the care of the man and woman now facing charges, they were later given permanent guardianship, meaning Serenity was no longer in kinship care. It was at some point after this development that Serenity died. 

Alberta’s Human Services minister is challenging criticism he hampered a probe into the violent death of a child in government care.

Irfan Sabir is also rejecting calls from the opposition he resign his post, saying he is committed to fixing a system that has been broken for years.

Sabir’s department has been under fire in recent weeks for its handling of the death of a four-year old girl named Serenity.

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Serenity died in 2014 after being taken to hospital with a head injury. According to the Edmonton Journal, hospital staff noted she had bruises all over her body, including her pubic and genital area. Global News has not been able to independently verify these claims. A report by Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate also said doctors noted Serenity had bruises at various stages of healing and was “significantly underweight.”

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Watch below: Some are calling for Alberta Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir to resign over how his government handled the death of a four-year-old girl. Tom Vernon reports.

Click to play video: 'Irfan Sabir rejects calls for his resignation'
Irfan Sabir rejects calls for his resignation

Questions have been raised as to how warning signs were missed, why the investigation into her death has been delayed, and why vital information on the case was not flagged for Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate.

Calls for his resignation came after the Edmonton Journal quoted Sabir saying when the RCMP recently asked for his department’s internal report on Serenity’s case, the department sat on it for two weeks.

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READ MORE: Mother of 4-year-old Alberta girl who died in kinship care speaks out: ‘They completely ignored me’

Sabir, and the RCMP, both say in fact the report was delivered two working days after the police asked for it in late November, but that technical problems delayed the computer file from being opened until this week.

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