Judge calls Calgary girl’s day home death ‘shocking tragedy’; calls for review

Click to play video 'Alberta judge calls for childcare system review following death of 22-month-old girl' Alberta judge calls for childcare system review following death of 22-month-old girl
WATCH: An Alberta judge says an extensive review of the province's childcare system is needed after the tragic death of 22-month-old Mackenzy Woolfsmith. She died of blunt trauma injuries at a private day home in 2012. Blake Lough reports – Jan 14, 2019

An Alberta judge is recommending an extensive review of the province’s child-care system following a 22-month-old girl’s death.

Mackenzy Woolfsmith was found injured in a private Calgary day home in May 2012.

READ MORE: Arrest made in death of toddler at southeast day home

Her caregiver, Caitlyn Jarosz, said the toddler had fallen down the stairs and flipped through the air.

Mackenzy died in hospital from brain and spinal cord injuries.

Jarosz was charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in May 2016 to 5 1/2 years in prison.

READ MORE: ‘I wish I could bring Mackenzy back’: Day home operator gets 5.5 years in little girl’s death

A fatality inquiry was held before Judge Josh Hawkes last year to come up with recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

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“Mackenzy’s death at the hands of her trusted caregiver was a shocking tragedy and terrible loss for her parents and family,” writes Hawkes in a 14-page report released Monday.

He said he is hoping for a re-examination of the legislative, policy and operational framework that governs child care in Alberta.

“The risks to the very young and vulnerable are real. Other jurisdictions have carefully reviewed all forms of child care from a risk-based perspective. I strongly recommend such a review in Alberta in order to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of events like these.”

WATCH BELOW: Caitlin Jarosz, a Calgary woman convicted of killing 22-month-old Mackenzy Woolfsmith, has been sentenced. Bindu Suri has the details (May 18, 2016) 

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Caitlin Jarosz sentenced in death of 22-month-old – May 18, 2016

Hawkes said the review should shift the focus from regulating the size of unlicensed daycares to reducing risk and increasing protection in all forms of child care.

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READ MORE: Day parole granted to woman convicted in 2012 death of Calgary toddler

Significant staffing changes must be made to ensure timely and effective investigations regarding risk in all child-care settings, he said

“The death of a child at the hands of a trusted caregiver is a parent’s worst nightmare.

“That this nightmare is not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern in which children and care workers are at elevated risk, is a serious public policy issue requiring urgent and sustained attention.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in Calgary that she had not been briefed on the inquiry report’s recommendations.

WATCH: Unlicensed day home owner charged in death of Calgary toddler

“I know our government has already been working quite diligently on ways to raise the standards, to raise the level of accountability, raise the levels of support for child care across the province,” she said. “But we also know there’s more to do and quite frankly providing safe child care is a fundamentally important value.

“We need to make sure child care is a priority going forward. We’ve done some work and we look forward to doing more.”

WATCH BELOW: Cheryl Crowther from the Alberta Child Care Association explains the difference between licensed day homes and unlicensed (Jun 26, 2017).

Click to play video 'The difference between licensed and unlicensed dayhomes in AB' The difference between licensed and unlicensed dayhomes in AB
The difference between licensed and unlicensed dayhomes in AB – Jun 26, 2017