Rachel Notley creates department for child welfare - Macleans.ca

Rachel Notley creates department for child welfare

In Alberta, child welfare will no longer fall under the perview of the Human Services Ministry

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks during the 2016 NDP Federal Convention in Edmonton Alberta, April 9, 2016. (Photograph by Jason Franson)

(Photograph by Jason Franson)

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has taken responsibility for child welfare away from what was the Human Services Ministry by creating a stand-alone department.

Danielle Larivee becomes the new minister of Children’s Services.

She was minister of municipal affairs where she stickhandled the government’s way through the aftermath of the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Notley said she made the change “so our government can place an increased focus on protecting children.”

“All children deserve a safe healthy home. When a child’s home isn’t safe, we have a responsibility to step in and do whatever it takes to make sure kids are protected.”

Human Services is being renamed Community and Social Services and will continue to be led by Irfan Sabir. He was criticized last fall when it was revealed there had been little action for two years in the case of a four-year-old girl named Serenity, who died while in the care of extended family members.

Serenity had been physically and sexually abused, was extremely malnourished and weighed just 18 pounds when she died. Child advocate Del Graff had reported that warning signs of maltreatment were investigated and dismissed.

Notley announced a panel in December to review the province’s child-welfare system and its members were revealed Wednesday.

She said Larivee will immediately begin work on the panel which is to recommend ways to improve reviews into child-welfare deaths, to strengthen child intervention and to address issues that lead to children becoming wards of the province.

Shaye Anderson, the member of the legislature for Leduc-Beaumont, moves up from the backbenches to replace Larivee at Municipal Affairs.

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