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Deaths, serious injuries and incidents of children receiving services

We are committed to continuous learning and improvement through rigorous, transparent examination of deaths, serious injuries and incidents.

Deaths, serious injuries, incidents

Safety and well-being are our top priority. We take this extremely seriously. When something goes wrong, we report it publicly and conduct a rigorous, transparent examination of what happened.

We report on any child, youth or young adult who dies, is seriously injured or experiences a substantiated incident. Reporting includes both situations where an intake has been opened for screening and assessment but services are not yet being provided, and when a child, youth or young adult is receiving services from us.

Table 1. Reference data for 2023-24.

*Source: Statistics Canada Table 17-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 051-0001) released on February 21, 2024 – Population estimates on July 1, by age and sex.
**This includes cases where an intake has been opened for screening and assessment but services are not yet being provided.
***Program participants from the age of 18 until the day before their 22nd birthday.
2023 Alberta population ages 0 to 21*1,241,796
2023-24Approximate number of total intakes**23,700
Children and youth receiving child intervention services (ages 0 to 17)12,200
Young adults receiving post 18-intervention supports (ages 18 to 21)***2,200

Intake and caseload statistics are updated annually, represent an approximate count of unique clients served, and are provided for context. Find more information in our public statistics.

Table 2. Deaths, serious injuries and substantiated incidents cumulative monthly totals.

*Read all death reports since 2008
April 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024Deaths*0 to 17 years old5
18 to 22 years old6
Serious injuries4
April 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024Children with substantiated incidents84

Any time a child dies, is injured, or experiences a substantiated incident, both at the intake stage and while receiving services, we publicly report it and rigorously investigate what happened.

Recent notifications

The following children, youth and young adults have recently died or experienced a serious injury:

  • July 7, 2024 – 14 year old died while receiving services (in care)

Our thoughts and condolences go out to all those impacted by these incidents. We are committed to transparency and will examine what happened and improve our services wherever possible.

Albertans have a right to know when a death, serious injury or substantiated incident occurs for a child, youth or young adult receiving services. The details shared on this page align with the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act and confidentiality requirements as outlined in Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The Recent Notifications section discloses individual events in accordance with legislated timelines. These cases are consolidated into the Monthly Summary on the 20th of the subsequent month (or nearest business day) along with the summary of serious injuries and deaths (for example, April events are updated around May 20). After that, information is publicly reported as part of part of the monthly and quarterly statistics.

A substantiated incident is defined as any substantiated allegation of abuse of a child or youth in care, or any substantiated incident where a child (under the age of 18) receiving intervention services witnesses, is the victim, or is the perpetrator of a serious event such as, but not limited to, a criminal matter.

Examining what happened

Internal quality assurance

Children’s Services reviews every death, serious injury or substantiated incident of a child, youth or young adult receiving services up to the age of 22.

We look at what happened to determine what went wrong and if improvements can be made to the child intervention system. This includes:

  • examining records and talking to staff about the services and supports provided
  • determining any immediate changes to be made in policy or practice that could help prevent a similar occurrence
  • taking specific actions to support the immediate safety and well-being of the child or other children, youth or young adults

This work happens alongside and with consideration of other reviews, such as those by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA). When further examination is needed, Children’s Services will conduct a child intervention designated review.

Our goal is to learn if anything can be done to improve the safety and well-being of children, youth and families.

External quality assurance

Along with the internal reviews by Children’s Services, the death of a child who was receiving services is also examined by external bodies, including:

Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA)

  • The OCYA is notified whenever there is a serious injury or death involving a child receiving services.
  • The OCYA is required to investigate every death of a child under 20 years old who was receiving services or had received services within two years prior to their death. The OCYA publicly reports its findings and reports to a committee of the Legislature on the number of completed reviews and the status of all incomplete reviews.
  • The OCYA may also conduct their own investigative or systemic review into any injury or death when they believe it will be in the best interest of the public.
  • We publicly respond to every recommendation directed to us from the OCYA. Children’s Services regularly updates the OCYA on our progress and shares this information publicly.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)

  • The OCME must be notified whenever there is a death of a child in care.
  • The OCME conducts an investigation if the death happens suddenly or cannot be explained, or when the child is in the custody of Children’s Services.
  • The OCME investigates to determine the general circumstances of the child’s death.

Fatality Review Board

  • The Fatality Review Board may recommend a public fatality inquiry if there is a possibility of preventing similar deaths in the future or if there is a need for public protection or clarification of circumstances surrounding a case.
  • The Minister of Justice calls the fatality inquiry, a public process overseen by a judge. The inquiry establishes cause, manner, time, place and circumstances of death, as well as the identity of the deceased.
  • Judges may make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences but are prohibited from making findings of legal responsibility.
  • The Fatality Inquiries Act requires that a written report is made available to the public. The ministry provides a written public response to each report.


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