An all-party Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention has been appointed to explore ways to improve Alberta’s child death review system and strengthen the intervention system. More than 10,000 children and youth currently receive child intervention services across Alberta.

What the panel will do

In the next 8-10 weeks the panel will outline immediate recommendations to improve the child death review process. This work will:

  • identify recommendations to streamline and strengthen the child death review process, including receiving updates on the status of all internal reviews
  • identify which agency should have primary authority for conducting these reviews
  • examine internal communications protocols to ensure timely access to information for relevant agencies
  • develop possible criteria for which deaths would be reviewed. This could include all children, all children in care, all children receiving child intervention services or some combination of the above
  • make recommendations for legislative changes

Following this initial study, the panel will review legislation, policies, current practices, literature, relevant data, and past recommendations, including those from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the Auditor General of Alberta. It will also solicit feedback from subject matter experts and frontline staff.

The panel’s aim is to strengthen Alberta’s child intervention system by recommending improvements to the child death review process, proposing actions to strengthen the system as a whole, and exploring the systemic issues that lead to children coming into government care.

Read the Terms of Reference

Read the background materials (large file)


The panel will submit a final report this year addressing:

  • the root causes and factors that contribute to child and family involvement in the child intervention system
  • current funding and resource levels for the child intervention system as well as an assessment of workplace culture and staff morale
  • existing supports for families, including supports for kinship caregivers, foster parents, and families at-risk of needing child intervention services
  • opportunities and concrete actions to improve the child intervention system, address over-representation of Indigenous children in intervention system and improve outcomes for all children receiving child intervention services
  • identifying recommendations of past studies, prioritizing them and discussing implementation timelines and oversight

Panel meetings

Panel meetings will be open to the public whenever possible. A detailed list of all upcoming meetings will be posted as soon as dates, times and locations are confirmed.

Upcoming public meeting:

Monday, May 8
Federal Building
9820-107 Street NW
Time: TBD

Following every meeting, the panel will provide a summary outlining what was discussed.

Make a submission

The panel understands that many individuals and organizations have experiences and suggestions. During its early meetings the panel will determine how it can best consider this information. Until these decisions are made, you’re encouraged to attend a panel meeting or make a written submission.

Email the panel

The information you provide is being collected to assist and may be used to inform the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention’s work to make recommendations to improve the child death review process and strengthen the child intervention system.

The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act provide the Authority to collect, use and disclose information. The aforementioned Acts apply to all records collected by the Panel from any sources, including but not limited to meeting notes, presentations, submissions, and reports; and, any document created by the Panel in the course of fulfilling its work.

If you have questions about the collection, use and disclosure of information, please contact the Secretariat Support of the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention at 780-422-5694 or by email at

Panel members

The 13-member Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention includes representatives from all parties:

Three leading Alberta experts on child intervention and Indigenous issues will also sit on the panel:

Dr. Peter Choate, MSW, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health, Community and Education, Mount Royal University

Dr. Peter Choate is a Registered Social Worker and Member of the Clinical Registry, Approved Clinical Supervisor for the Alberta College of Registered Social Workers. He holds a PhD in Addictions and a Master of Social Work. He is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.

Dr. Choate has been engaged in clinical private counseling and an assessment practice with an emphasis on addictions, domestic violence and child protection matters. He has been qualified as an expert witness on many occasions in the Provincial Court of Alberta (Family and Youth Division) in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton as well as the Court of Queen’s Bench (Calgary and Medicine Hat).

Dr. Choate provides services to Alberta Child Welfare, Youth Probation Services (Calgary) and as a qualified Substance Abuse Professional for the U.S. National Transportation and Highway Safety Act. He is a Continuing Education Instructor at the University of Calgary. His particular emphasis is on child and adolescent mental health including maltreatment, neglect and abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) and these issues within family systems. He has presented nationally and internationally at various conferences and as a trainer for organizations in these areas.

Bruce MacLaurin, MSW

Professor, University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work

Bruce MacLaurin’s research interests include child maltreatment, child welfare policy and service delivery, foster care outcomes, street youth and youth at risk. He is currently the primary investigator on Service Outcomes for Children and Youth Referred to Out-Of-Home Care, a three-year study for the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research.

He is a co-investigator on three other major studies, including Telling: Examining Cross-Cultural Patterns of Maltreatment Disclosures of Adolescents and Evidence-Based Management in Child Welfare, both funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; and Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Grant in Homelessness, Housing and Health, funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Professor MacLaurin teaches classes on child maltreatment, social work evaluation, research, social work policy related to child and family issues, and at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2007, he was nominated by the Graduate Students’ Association for a teaching excellence award. Before coming to the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work in 2002, he was a research associate at the University of Toronto’s Bell Canada Child Welfare Research Unit.

Dr. Patti LaBoucane-Benson, PhD

Director of Research and Evaluation, Native Counseling Services of Alberta

Patti LaBoucane-Benson has a PhD in Human Ecology, focusing on Aboriginal Family and Community Resilience. She was the recipient of the two top Canadian social sciences doctoral awards: The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Scholarship and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship.

Patti has worked for Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) for 21 years and is currently the Director of Research, Training and Communication, providing leadership for research teams undertaking community-based, applied research. Patti also is executive producer and principle investigator for BearPaw Communications, BearPaw Media video productions and BearPaw Legal Education publications and oversees the development and implementation of the historic trauma healing programs for NCSA.

Dr. LaBoucane-Benson is also a mentor and lecturer for the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, a lecturer for the University of Alberta Executive Education, and provides Historic Trauma-Informed Service delivery training for Legal Aid Alberta, The Edmonton Police Service and REACH Edmonton.

In 2015, Patti’s first novel was published by House of Anansi Press.  Based on her PhD research, The Outside Circle is a work of creative non-fiction about healing and reconciliation for an inner-city Aboriginal family struggling with poverty, gang affiliation and hopelessness. The Outside Circle was on the Globe and Mail’s Top Ten Canadian books and was named a CBC “Best Books of 2015”, an Outstanding International Books 2016 by the United States Board on Books for Young People, winner of the Red Deer Reads competition and long-listed for the Canada Reads competition.

Patti has been awarded the Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Award for Education; the Legal Aid Access to Justice Award and the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.