Foster-care system improved following Abbotsford teen’s 2015 suicide, province says

Alex Gervais was placed in motel by ministry, not checked on by caregiver in 10 days prior to death

Following the suicide of an Abbotsford teen who was in the care of the government in 2015, the province say they have better equipped the Ministry of Children and Family Development to manage the foster system.

The death of Alex Gervais, the 18-year old Métis teen who jumped from the fourth floor window of an Abbotsford’s motel, prompted a 2017 report entitled Broken Promises by B.C.’s child-watchdog, Children and Youth. The report found that Gervais hadn’t been checked on by his caregiver in the 10 days prior to his death.

The province had put up the teen in a Super-8 motel and paid the caregiver $8,000 a month to look after him while a more permanent home was found. He had been staying there for 49 days.

Now, the ministry says it has hired more staff, social workers, and increased compensation for foster parents. They also say they have talked with First Nations across the province in hopes of shrinking the number of Indigenous youths in the system.

The practice of placing displaced youth in motels has been stopped outside of emergency situations.

The ministry erred in never attempted to reunite Gervais with a stepmother in B.C. or his aunt in Quebec, according to the 2017 report. He had been moved through 17 different placements with 23 different social workers.

The ministry claims it has been able to return 91 per cent of children placed in the foster system to their families. These returns are the result of more parenting classes, counselling, and mental health and addiction support.

The 2017 report called for the ministry to provide proper support to youth in the foster system who couldn’t return to their families. It detailed how Gervais suffered from abuse, anxiety, depression and attachment issues.

RELATED: Alex Gervais died alone after years of instability, neglect: Child advocate report

Foster careProvincial Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The pros have a plan to play, what about minor hockey?

Plans are in the works, but the process is moving slowly

City of Terrace creates bylaw framework for ride-hailing

No ride-hailing announced yet for region, but may be coming soon

BC Hydro building extension almost complete

Extension will serve as a heated parking space for vehicles

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Northern Women’s Recovery House Society calls for public engagement

Society aims to plans to bring the first women’s recovery house to northern B.C.

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read