Deaths, serious injuries and 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.

*Source: Statistics Canada Table 051-0001 Estimates of Population, by age group and sex
**Note: This includes cases where an intake has been opened for screening and assessment but services are not yet being provided, and cases where a child or youth is receiving services.)
***The reporting period for substantiated incident is February 28, 2019 to May 31, 2019.
2018 Alberta population ages 0-24* 1,340,171
2018/19 Approximate number of total intakes** 42,000
Children and youth receiving child intervention services (ages 0-17) 15,000
Young adults receiving post-intervention services (ages 18-24) 2,500
April 1 to October 30, 2019 Deaths 0-17 years old 11
18-24 years old 6
Total 17
Serious injuries 2
Substantiated incidents*** 16

Statistics are updated quarterly and refer to unique children, youth and young adults. Find more information in our public statistics.

Recent notifications

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.

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

  • November 14, 2019 – A 1-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. Data posted to this page is updated monthly. 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/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 24.

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 and Solicitor General 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.

Contact

To get assistance in your area during business hours:

Children's Services offices

Connect with the Child Abuse Hotline:
Hours: 24/7 all year
Toll free: 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS)