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

Hundreds of wax figures find new life in Saanich man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

UPDATED: Hit and run results in damaged fire hydrant, flooding on Richmond Road

Registered owner issued $360 ticket, responsible for repair costs

Peninsula Eagles will host Midget T2 provincial championships

Provincial championships will take place at Panorama Recreation March 15 to 19

Saanich’s senior race car driver not slowing down

Bill Okell kicks off 2020 season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California on Feb. 21

UVIC to host brain health presentation at IdeaFest 2020

Integrative Lifespan Lab will teach residents brain health for free at IdeaFest 2020

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay Victoria man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read