The death of a three-year-old Indigenous boy at the hands of his foster parent was the “direct result of the fundamental failure” of children’s services workers involved with the case, a fatality inquiry judge has ruled.
In a report into the death of Kawilga Potts, Judge Ferne LeReverend offered a scathing indictment of the workers who failed to follow up on clear signs the child was abused at the hands of his foster mother, Lily Choy.
“Evidence of abuse was present,” the judge wrote in a 20-page ruling released Friday. “It was known to five different case workers involved in Lily Choy’s home. None of the workers addressed their minds to what needed to be done to save Kawliga Potts.
“Kawliga Potts’ death was a direct result of the fundamental failure of everyone connected with this child to do their jobs.”
The judge noted that no one involved in the case followed the rules and procedures that were in place. A special case review report completed after the boy’s death commended the workers for “exceeding policy expectations for face-to-face contact with him.”
Kawliga Potts died of a brain injury in an Edmonton hospital on Jan. 26, 2007, less than two months after the province put him into Choy’s care.
Choy was convicted of manslaughter in his death in 2011. After two appeals, her initial sentence of three years was increased to six years and then to eight to years.
Childrens’ Services Minister Danielle Larivee was not available for an interview Friday.
Her spokesman, Aaron Manton, would not say whether the case workers still worked for the Government of Alberta or whether they had faced any disciplinary action.
Manton said the government has improved screening for foster parents, plus made it mandatory to provide supports for their first three months and to assess them after six months. Manton said foster parents undergo mandatory reassessment if more children are added to the home.
In the fatality inquiry report, the judge laid out…