“This is not appropriate, and the Ministry has a lot to answer for today.”
BC’s Children and Youth Representative says she was mislead by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says she was assured none of the young people removed from unsuitable groups homes shut down in the Fraser Valley would be placed in hotels.
18-year-old Alex Gervais died last Friday, after going through the window of the Super 8 in Abbotsford he was living in.
Turpel-Lafond says housing children in hotels is just not right.
“They are not supposed to use a hotel, except for a very temporary situation. If a child is removed at 2:00 a.m., and there’s no way to get them into a resource until the next day. I can understand that, an overnight emergency with a social worker. But the idea of placing a young person to live for months in a hotel room is not appropriate.”
Turpel-Lafond’s office is now investigating the case, as is the BC Coroners Service.
2014 death of Manitoba youth, Tina Fontaine, shed light on problematic practice
It’s a practice other provinces are taking a second look at.
Manitoba is changing the process, after the death of Tina Fontaine.
The 15-year-old girl was murdered after she went missing from the hotel she was living at.
In a statement, Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux says she can’t speak to this individual case, but that she is deeply concerned by what she’s heard.
Cadieux notes hotels are only supposed to be used in rare circumstances with notification of the director of child welfare.
The Ministry says, right now, the Director is not aware of any other child in government care living in a hotel.
Messages of condolences are now pouring in for the teen.
Friends Speak : abandoned by social workers
Friends of Gervais claims he was abandoned by social workers.
Dallas Durham says Gervais was battling depression before falling through a hotel window last Friday, and that he was placed at the Super 8 hotel by the provincial government after his group home closed.
“No support whatsoever, they say they supported him, complete lies, no one was there for him, and I was always there for him no matter what. Nights that he was crying, and or couldn’t deal with it.”
Another friend, Dylan Pelly, says Gervais had no companionship or even food on Christmas.
Pelly believes he look his own life after feeling like he had nothing left to live for.
“I’m not saying he was 100% meant to do it, but I do believe he jumped out of that window right.”
He confirmed the eighteen-year-old lived was in the care of the Ministry, and lived in the Super 8 hotel after leaving a group home.
“He was destructive and stuff and when he would lash out he would break things right, so I believe that’s truly the reason he was kicked out of that house. I think the Ministry just got fed up with my bro, ended up placing him in the hotel, he was just neglected all the time.”
Pelly says his friend had nothing, and no one.
LISTEN to the complete interview from the DREX LIVE show here:
in the Super 8 hotel while in
“I brought Alex to my house for Christmas and gave him dinner and gifts, he literally had nothing, he was by himself almost 90% of the time, he had no guidance, it was just him.”
BC’s Child and Youth Representative, and the BC Coroner’s Service, is investigating the death.