Province says foster system has been improved following 2015 suicide of Abbotsford teen

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

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abby Senior grad established new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Craft brewery near Abbotsford Centre gets OK from council

No objections to Canuck Empire Brewery’s plans for site near University of the Fraser Valley

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read