Seventeen-year-old Isiah Brunton died from a gunshot wound in a Saskatoon hospital on Feb. 17.
The next day, a Saskatoon police constable and drug education advocate, Matt Ingrouille wrote an open letter to the deputy premier. He’s calling for more help for kids in the foster care system with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and suffering from trauma.
“You know a little bit about the journey our family has been on. My son, who was adopted at 8 with FASD, would be dead today if it wasn’t for the pilot project “Circles of Care” ran by Eagles Nest,” Ingrouille writes in his letter to Wyant.
Ingrouille declined a formal interview.
He writes that foster parents don’t receive enough supports to properly help children with severe trauma or FASD.
“It’s rare to read about a child in care with autism, Down syndrome or other similar disabilities dying. Yet FASD and trauma survivors are suffering from addiction, overdoses, jail, and suicide at an alarming rate,” Ingrouille wrote.
“Enough with kids like Isaiah dying. Enough with families like mine who try to help, being left completely alone.”
The letter discusses Ingrouille’s success with a program called Circles of Care, a pilot run by the Saskatoon-based Eagle’s Nest.
The program involves taking on families as clients, and providing supports to keep them together in times of crisis. This includes providing supports and a respite house for entire families.
Ingrouille wants to see the program expanded, saying it would save the province “massive amounts of money.”
“Don’t wait for the reports to be in. I’m telling you as one of the nine families involved in the program, it saved our family and saved our sons life,” he wrote.
“Gord, I’m counting on you, as always.”
Global News reached out to the provincial government for comment on this letter, and received the following response from a government spokesperson:
“Minister Wyant had not received the letter prior to your request, but we appreciate that Mr. Ingrouille has taken the time to communicate his concerns. Now that Minister Wyant has received the letter, the concerns expressed will be communicated to the appropriate ministry to facilitate a response.”
In an emailed response, a Ministry of Social Services spokesperson said they are unable to talk about the specifics of individual cases.
The response adds that foster families receive training to assist children with complex needs, including severe trauma and FASD. The spokesperson adds that there are “an array” of supports for children in care, including “contracts with community organizations to province specialized care for children with unique needs.”
According to the Feb. 18 press release from the Saskatoon police on Brunton’s death, the investigation is ongoing and an autopsy is expected this week.