BC’s child and youth watchdog Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says a Burnaby foster home where a baby died two years ago has now been shut down, and that Isabella Wien’s family deserves answers.
Turpel-Lafond says she feels for the family because no cause of death for baby Isabella has been determined, and no charges have been laid. Turpel-Lafonde worries that the mom’s concerns over the care provided might have been ignored by social workers. But she does reveal the home in question is out of business.
“I’m glad the home’s closed. I’m not happy that we’ve had the death of a child, and I’m not happy that the family waited a long time to find out why, and what they got was an answer that’s really troubling.”
Read the full story and listen to our interview with the mother here.
Turpel-Lafond also faults the government for failing to sit down and talk to Isabella’s mom, and also failing to do a complete case review of the death.
“My view of it is you follow up by actually seeing the child. When you have an infant, when you have someone who can’t talk, walk, pick up a phone, or complain – you want them to be actually able to – the ministry – when you’re under 5 – to get out there and see that child in a timely fashion.”
But her own probe will have to wait while the family pursues a civil suit against the government.
“Far too often in British Columbia we have kids in foster care who do not see their social workers regularly.So what might happen is people pick up the phone and talk to the foster parent but that doesn’t see the child. So there is no question in British Columbia there are systemic issues. This has arisen in an environment of systemic problem(s) that we need to resolve.”