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Julie Ali blog-Edmonton housing

Debbie Semeniuk • Edmonton, Alberta It's an election year, and Anderson will do and say whatever it takes to secure the vote of his constituents. I would welcome this development in my area anytime I am sure they have more class and respect

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/canadian-history-harperized/article11832967/

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Simons+Homeless+housing+project+Terwillegar+Towne+uproar/8623508/story.html

 

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I appreciate your concern for my sons that you indicate is part of your disagreement about the proposed 60 unit supportive housing project in Terwilleger Towne but I find that this concern is a hypocritical one. I believe you are not really concerned about my sons meeting riff raff from the inner city in the suburban heaven of Riverbend where they are insulated from poverty and real life—but in fact you are promoting the half assed prejudices of rich constituents without brains who are more worried about their damn property values than a human being.  You are really a twerp.  I’m sorry but the opportunistic comments you make in the article below show you as really are—a nice guy who knows how to butter the bread of the dummy folks in Riverbend so as to get re-elected. Mind you, not all of the folks in Riverbend are as dumb as the ones you are pandering to and can see through your strategy of whining about the riffraff among the upper echelons of our society.

 

Really it is very political of you to do this sort of mumbo jumbo. I am always surprised how good men and women contort themselves to fit the warped requirements of the folks that vote for them but there you go.

I don’t agree with your dumb stance on this issue.

It shows a remarkable lack of thinking ability to suggest that my sons would be contaminated by seeing folks in the age group you belong to doing stuff like wandering about lost. Most of the rich old guys driving their BMWs and Mercedes in Riverbend seem more lost than the homeless men I have seen downtown who are for the most part, very nice people who I often yap with. These folks are no danger to anyone.  Riverbend folks driving like maniacs in the community are more of a danger to these folks than these folks are to us.

But you persist in echoing your ignorant constituents in Riverbend and miming their concerns. This is odd. Why do you mutter about the concerns of the dummy constituents but not of the intelligent constituents? Why do you support all the rich old fools but not the bright old fools?  Do we have to be rich to get your interest?  Won’t brains do?

 

Using my brains, I see no reason why we can’t have such projects in Riverbend. Really all the rich neighborhoods must take their share of real life and become a bit more inclusive. I mean these folks aren’t going to take over Riverbend. We are talking about sixty units. And even if there were 300 units –so what? We’ve got plenty of space and all we need is a bit of an increase in our ability to feel for our fellow human beings. Its that matter of the heart. Love.  You know—that thing Jesus Christ talks about that everyone believes in until a few homeless folks are introduced into the story.  It always surprises me that we have all these religious folks who would donate money to help inner city kids (so long as they stay in the inner city) but let any of these inner city folks come to the great pie in the sky Riverbend---well –that’s a big no no.

And why is this?

Could it because we are being narrow minded, prejudiced and selfish?

Could it be something to do with not wanting to deal with social problems such as homelessness and poverty in our back yards?

Could it be we are engaged in fantasy communities where we are all stay at home mummies with our perfect children?

Could it be that we are not yet a society that believes in equal rights for everyone?

Why should Riverbend not have its share of so called social housing?

Here is the article where you wax lyrical (and skeptical) over the benefits of integrating our fellow less fortunate human beings into our affluent community:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Simons+Homeless+housing+project+Terwillegar+Towne+uproar/8623508/story.html

 

 

Simons: Homeless-housing project has Terwillegar Towne in an uproar

 

 

By Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal July 5, 2013

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What That CBS Report on Iceland's Abortion Rate Failed to Say About Down Syndrome

What That CBS Report on Iceland's Abortion Rate Failed to Say About Down Syndrome | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
https://themighty.com/2017/08/down-syndrome-iceland-abortion/

What That CBS Report on Iceland's Abortion Rate Failed to Say About Down Syndrome

By Ellen Stumbo
Staff
Down Syndrome

August 16, 2017
Sometimes the news isn’t as straightforward as it’s made to seem. Ellen Stumbo, The Mighty’s Parenting Editor, explains what to keep in mind if you see this topic or similar stories in your newsfeed. This is The Mighty Takeaway.
A recent CBS news report on Iceland’s abortion rates and almost extinct Down syndrome population has the Down syndrome community talking.
As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, this makes me realize how little our world in general values people with disabilities.2 I should not have to reason with someone why my daughter deserves to be alive, but one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Did you know before she was born?” To me, this question implies children with Down syndrome are not wanted. My daughter is wanted, and she was wanted when a level II ultrasound revealed several markers consistent with Down syndrome.
But let me be honest — at the time, her diagnosis felt devastating. It felt devastating because my disability attitudes were found in ignorance and pity. I only knew stereotypes about Down syndrome. I thought of disability as something tragic. I did not have any friends with disabilities. I did not spend time around people with disabilities. I did not know. And media did not help, as the portrayal of people with disabilities is lacking accurate representations.
RELATED STORIES
* Man With Down Syndrome Sings National Anthem at Red Sox Game, Knocks It Out of the Park
* Families Make Emotional Video for New Parents of Kids With Down Syndrome
When my daughter was born, she challenged what I viewed as perfect, worthy, important, and valuable in life. I had made wrongful assumptions about what her life would be like because of my negative disability attitudes, only to quickly recognize her life had the same value as someone without a disability, and her life was just as beautiful and full. The treasures I have discovered along the way because of my daughter’s diagnosis remind me our greatest contributions are not found in our strength, performance, eloquence or confidence.
I won’t say Down syndrome is “easy” because parenting a child with a disability does bring extra challenges. But challenges are not what define the value of life.
Because what exactly determines the value of a life? The value of a child… any child?

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES
* Help lead locally
* Resources for families
* Local and national Down syndrome support networks
via National Down Syndrome Congress

Should the value of a child’s life be reduced to their academic performance? Then why is the life of a child with Down syndrome held to this standard?
Should the value of a child’s life be reduced to their medical conditions? Then why is the life of a child with Down syndrome held to this standard?
Should the value of a person’s life be reduced to the job they will have? Then why is the value of a person with Down syndrome held to this standard?
Down syndrome is not just a condition or a statistic, Down syndrome is a person, it is people like my child.1
Expectant parents do not really know what Down syndrome is and are left with only the medical opinion of the condition.
When you are pregnant and your baby has a possibility of having Down syndrome, doctors respond. Their response, sadly, is often not a welcoming one. Most do not offer up-to-date information or to connect you with other parents who have children with Down syndrome. Most doctors do not talk about Down syndrome beyond their medical experience. They talk about how Down syndrome will affect your baby — a “doomed” medical condition in which your child will “suffer” greatly — because so many things could go wrong. They give inaccurate information based on the worst possible scenarios — like our pediatrician, whose disability attitude was “pity” as he confirmed the diagnosis at birth: “I am very sorry to tell you this, but your child does have Down syndrome.”
RELATED STORIES
* Why I Loved It When a Girl Yelled at My Son With Down Syndrome
* If You Love My Child With Down Syndrome, Please Do This One Thing
Maybe it’s time we move from being “sorry” to offering support.
It’s definitely time for accurate information and connecting parents with Down syndrome organizations or other parent mentors.
When I hear an expectant mom is going to have a child with Down syndrome I say, “Congratulations, I know it might be hard to believe it now, but you might come to love Down syndrome as part of who your child is. You will experience shades of color you never knew were possible. Ask me questions, as many as you have, I am here for you. You are not alone.”
The Down syndrome community is strong and supportive. We gather around new parents and we cheer them on. We know what it was like to be a scared parent not knowing what to expect, having to face stereotypes and negative disability attitudes. We’ve been there, and if you are an expectant parent, we got you.
Parenting a child with Down syndrome might not always be easy, but it is good!
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Velvet Martin's comment, August 18, 11:25 AM
My daughter, now an angel, lived 13 years. She had a chromosome disorder that physicians hadn't even heard of at the time, Tetrasomy 18p. Samantha many professionals said wasn't supposed to walk, talk, see, and wouldn't know us. Wrong on all accounts! A good friend once said to be that ALL of us have disabilities, some more, some less visible than another. What about the person who harbours a Cancer gene? Do we eliminate them? Another person wears glasses or uses a wheelchair. We are all vulnerable to disability through natural aging process, disease or accident. No person is more or less important than the next. My daughter's life changed law in Canada; a pretty significant accomplishment for someone who was said to be profoundly affected.
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To Rebecca Fairbrother, ScoopIt

To Rebecca Fairbrother, ScoopIt | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Unfortunately I could not seem to find a way to respond directly to the message and need to create a new post.:

Thanks for your tip, however, there is "a method to the madness". Through the years, I have discovered that links with important information may go stale. Copying entire text better ensues preservation of content. Particularly if it is information that can be helpful to refer back to when a similar issue is raised. 
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What Samantha’s Law Is About: Public Awareness

What Samantha’s Law Is About: Public Awareness | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
  What Samantha's Law Is About: Public Awareness Source: What Is Samantha's Law? To SUPPORT and promote public awareness of the families hurting from the wrongful actions of the Child Protection Agencies. To SUPPORT families. To SUPPORT Velvet Martin and her family. To help fund Parents Rights Blog and all the work I have put…
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Heating of Plastics 

*V.V.V.V.V.IMPORTANT*

A friend of ours became very sick after drinking water left in a car overnight and she was ill for a couple of months.

No matter how many times you get this E-mail, please send it on!!!!

Bottled water in your car is very dangerous!

On the Ellen show, Sheryl Crow said that this is what caused her breast cancer. It has been identified as the most common cause of the high levels of dioxin in breast cancer tissue..

Sheryl Crow's oncologist told her: women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car. The heat reacts with the chemicals in the plastic of the bottle which releases dioxin into the water. Dioxin is a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue.

So please be careful and do not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

Pass this on to all the women in your life. This information is the kind we need to know that just might save us!

Use a stainless steel canteen or a glass bottle instead of plastic!

LET EVERYONE KNOW PLEASE!

This information is also being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center ...

No plastic containers in microwaves.

No plastic water bottles in freezers.

No plastic wrap in microwaves.

Dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer.

Dioxins are highly poisonous to cells in our bodies.

Don't freeze plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.

Recently the Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard.

He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating food in the microwave using plastic containers......

This especially applies to foods that contain fat.

He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastic releases dioxin into the food.

Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food... You get the same result, but without the dioxin..

So, such things as TV dinners, instant soups, etc., should be removed from their containers and heated in something else.

Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's safer to use tempered glass, such as Pyrex, etc.

He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the styrene foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons....

Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Cling film, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave.

As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food..

Cover food with a paper towel instead.

This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life.

*Very very very important* via Desiree Knoll 
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Will you float a feather 

Will you float a feather  | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Friday, May 1, 2015
will you float a feather

when you arrive there
will you tell me
if the sea is blue
and is it wet?
when you arrive there
will you tell me
that you are safe?
will you pull the plaits
of the willows
so that I will know
that you are walking by?
when the poplars dance
in their swirling clouds of skirts
will you say my name?
when the aspens spin their pencils
in the sentences they are always writing
will you send down a line so that I might remember
what it was like to hold you close?
when you arrive there
will you send the signs and symbols
so that I will know you have gone home?
when you go by in the forest
with the whisper of the mice
and the sullen sweep of the owl
hunting them
will you float a feather
so that I might recognize
the hunter and the hunted?
so that I might see
that the spirit exists
even in the moment of the extinguishing of the body?
when you arrive there
say my name

Julie Ali at 10:24 PM

Velvet Martin: "In Loving Memory of my mother, Marguerite Rideout, July 11th 1925 - August 9th 2015."
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Anywhere else workers are incompetent they are fired. In the Government of Alberta they are circulated around...

Anywhere else workers are incompetent they are fired. In the Government of Alberta they are circulated around... | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
http://readingchildrensbooks.blogspot.ca/2017/08/so-they-dont-make-them-unilaterally.html
Reading Children's Books
I took my Power in my Hand – / And went against the World – Emily Dickinson (Poem 660)
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
"So they don't make them unilaterally anymore. They work together with their case supervisor to make sure. Because obviously that decision is best made by more than one person."
Anywhere else workers are incompetent they are fired.
In the GOA they are circulated around and given a supervisor to help them with their incompetence.

Not my idea of change.
I'd expect penalties such as demotion, termination and charges for incompetence that leads to harm and deaths of kids but these are GOA workers.
They are privileged.
Julie Ali
Just now ·
Only at the GOA are there no consequences for incompetence; workers who fail at their jobs are still allowed to continue at their jobs with the additional help and support of a supervisor. This sort of "change" without penalties for failed work does not give me any confidence in the system. Unilateral decision making may not be present but the presence of a team with a supervisor does not assure quality decision making. In addition why are workers exempt from consequences for poor job performance? Why no demotions and no terminations for the death of a kid? Why? I guess because if you work for the GOA you are privileged and not subject to any sort of consequences. If you were subject to consequences this might mean that the GOA itself was in error and who knows what this might mean in terms of liability and lawsuits?

"So they don't make them unilaterally anymore. They work together with their case supervisor to make sure. Because obviously that decision is best made by more than one person."
READINGCHILDRENSBOOKS.BLOGSPOT.COM
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Julie Ali
Just now ·
CBC News
·
So now incompetence in decision making has been spread around. Workers don't make decisions unilaterally but consult with supervisors to make incompetent decisions. We feel that the kids in the foster care system aren't being helped by an expanded group of decision makers just as we don't feel that a province wide audit team from AHS is able to remedy the problems of zone auditing teams.
But there you go. We are told things have changed.
The typical spin of the GOA.
The Children's Ministry is not an improvement of the poor oversight in the child welfare system and there is no accountability if penalties are nor present for poor performance such as termination of employees who fail big time at their jobs.



Some caseworkers criticized by fatality inquiry judge still work for government
Some caseworkers criticized by a judge who reviewed the death of foster child Kawliga Potts still work for the Alberta government, Children's Services Minister…
CBC.CA
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/some-staff-fatality-inquiry-still-work-for-government-1.4232774

Some caseworkers criticized by fatality inquiry judge still work for government
Judge criticized Kawliga Potts' caseworkers for a "fundamental failure" to do their jobs
CBC News Posted: Aug 02, 2017 3:43 PM MT Last Updated: Aug 02, 2017 6:31 PM MT
Children's Services Minister Danielle Larivee says the government has changed how it chooses, assesses and supervises foster parents since the Kawliga Potts case.
Children's Services Minister Danielle Larivee says the government has changed how it chooses, assesses and supervises foster parents since the Kawliga Potts case. (CBC)
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Some caseworkers sharply criticized by a judge who reviewed the death of foster child Kawliga Potts still work for the Alberta government, Children's Services Minister Danielle Larivee acknowledged Tuesday.
"The individual status of them varies," she said. "But what I can say is that we do have processes in place to do ongoing evaluation of staff, and certainly we have made sure that staff have support within the department to make the very best decisions possible."
Child killed by Edmonton foster mom was failed by 'everyone' involved in case, judge says
Kawliga, a three-year-old Indigenous boy, died in January 2007 from abuse suffered at the hands of his foster mother.
Lily Choy was convicted of manslaughter in 2011. The toddler died at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton of a massive head injury.
In a scathing report released last week, fatality inquiry Judge Fern LeReverend said the five unnamed caseworkers involved with Kawliga, Choy and three siblings who were also in the foster home showed a "fundamental failure" to do their jobs.
For example, a request by the boy's grandfather to care for him was never followed up by the caseworker.
The caseworkers involved with Kawliga noticed the bruises on his body but failed to do anything, the judge said.
Though the three-year-old had high needs, he was placed with Choy, who was inexperienced and only licensed to care for low-needs children over the age of five.
Larivee said all caseworkers now must consult with supervisors on larger decisions about a child's care.
"Workers don't make major decisions about a child on their own," she said.
"So they don't make them unilaterally anymore. They work together with their case supervisor to make sure. Because obviously that decision is best made by more than one person."
Caseworkers also have regular meetings with their supervisors and managers. Every government employee fills out a performance agreement each year.
The government has also changed how it chooses, assesses and supervises foster parents since the Choy case.

New foster parents are supervised for the first three months and assessed at the six-month mark.
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2015 Braid: Blakeman's victory belongs to everyone — including the government

2015 Braid: Blakeman's victory belongs to everyone — including the government | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
"It's hard to contain my joy," Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman said emotionally, after the government handed her perhaps the greatest victory any opposition MLA has achieved since the Progressive Conservatives took office in 1971.
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Three faces of a system’s failure: Children in child advocate's latest report identified

Three faces of a system’s failure: Children in child advocate's latest report identified | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Three First Nation children who died shortly after being returned to their mothers' care are the subject of Alberta child and youth advocate Del Graff's latest report.


http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/three-faces-of-a-systems-failure-children-in-child-advocates-latest-report-identified/amp


Three faces of a system’s failure: Children in child advocate's latest report identified
BY EDMONTON JOURNAL
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: JUL 19, 2017

Traezlin Starlight, Jay Johnson and Shalaina Arcand.

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Three First Nation children who died shortly after being returned to their mothers’ care are the subject of Alberta child and youth advocate Del Graff’s latest report.

In each case, the children spent much of their short lives living in foster care, as their biological parents faced challenges with substance abuse, neglect and domestic violence.


The Edmonton Journal has identified the three children.

Traezlin Denzel Starlight, age two:


A funeral notice for Traezlin Starlight. The First Nations child died in September 2014. His mother Livia Starlight was sentenced to 26 months for manslaughter in July 2017.
• Born prematurely and with symptoms of exposure to drugs, the “playful, active and content little boy” was apprehended as a newborn and placed in foster care with his siblings.

• Over time, the children’s mother began having longer visits with the children as she worked to get sober.

• Bruising was noticed on the boy’s back. While an investigation took place into the boy’s foster home, he and his siblings were left in their mother’s care.

• Two months later, the boy was taken to the hospital with a serious head injury. The mother offered inconsistent stories about the cause, and concerns were raised about the level of supervision in her home and her ability to cope, yet the toddler remained in her care after leaving the hospital.


• A month after his discharge, the boy was again taken to hospital with serious injuries to his brain and spine, and bruising on his body. He died a few days later on Sept. 25, 2014.

• His mother, Livia Starlight, from the Tsuut’ina reserve near Calgary, was charged with second-degree murder, but eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She recently received a four-year sentence. With time served, she will spend an additional 26 months behind bars.

• In an agreed statement of facts, Starlight said frustration over the toddler’s whining prompted her to throw him onto a couch that had hard-surfaced arms.

Jay Johnson, age 15 months:


Jay Johnson’ was 15 months old when he died. His mother was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 months in prison.
• The second youngest of seven siblings, Graff’s report describes the boy as a generally healthy child who “loved to cuddle and fall asleep while being held.”

• The boy was placed in foster care shortly after his birth, along with his brothers and sisters.

• A year later, the children’s parents completed an addictions program and began getting a home ready to have their kids returned. In the meantime, it was decided the family would move in with relatives.

• Problems developed over the next several weeks, including the resumption of drug use. Repairs were completed on the family’s home, but caseworkers soon learned the children’s parents had separated.

• Two days later, on Dec. 5, 2015, while a mandatory supervision order was being discussed, paramedics were called to the home and found the boy dead from head trauma.

• His mother, Florencine Leandra Potts, was charged with second-degree murder, but later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She recently received a sentence of 30 months, including credit for 17 months of time served.

• Foster parents said they warned caseworkers against returning Jay and his siblings to the care of their biological parents.

Shalaina Arcand, age five:


An image of Shalaina Arcand, from her funeral home death notice. Arcand was five when she died in October 2015 from head trauma. In October 2016, her mother was charged with second-degree murder and assault with a weapon, in relation to her daughter’s death.
• A premature baby, the girl developed a severe speech and language delay, and was unsettled at night.

• She was taken into care at 10 months, and lived in three different foster homes.

• The girl’s mother had problems with substance abuse and anger management, though she did eventually complete treatment programs. After nearly a year of sobriety, the mother was put in care of the girl and her two siblings.

• Within a three-month period, there were three incidents in which the girl was injured, though the mother’s explanations were accepted without followup.

• The mother declined further use of a family support worker, and involvement with the child intervention system ended a short time later.

• The girl was hospitalized six weeks later with a serious head injury, trauma to her internal organs and extensive bruising. She died within a few days, in October 2015.

• A year-long investigation led to police charging her mother, Lauren LaFleche, with second-degree murder. The case has yet to go to trial.

Read the full story here.


Paula Simons: Who is accountable when child welfare system places children in peril? No one, it seems

Paula Simons, Edmonton JournalPAULA SIMONS, EDMONTON JOURNAL
More from Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal
Published on: July 18, 2017 | Last Updated: July 18, 2017 6:54 PM MDT


Child advocate
Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff talks about the results of a new investigation into the deaths of three young children.
SHARE ADJUST COMMENT PRINT 


His name was Traezlin Denzel Starlight.
He was two years old when his own little light was snuffed out. He died of blunt force head trauma in 2014. His mother, Livia Starlight, 31, was charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Earlier this month, she was sentenced to 26 months, in addition to the time she’s spent in custody. That’s roughly one month for every month of her son’s life.

The death of this boy from the Tssut’ina First Nation near Calgary is heartbreaking. But a new report, released Tuesday by Alberta’s child and youth advocate, should move us to fury, not just tears.

Child advocate Del Graff, bound by the strict privacy provisions of his governing legislation, never identifies Traezlin by name. But the case has already been to trial and all the names are a matter of public record.


As Graff’s report reveals, Livia Starlight had struggled with addictions for years. Traezlin was born suffering symptoms of drug withdrawal. He was apprehended at birth — but he and some of his siblings were returned to their mother’s care just after his second birthday.
After two months, the toddler was hospitalized with a severe head injury. Police were called to investigate. But when Traezlin got out of hospital, he wasn’t placed back in foster care. Instead, he was returned to his mother on the understanding she would have a support worker in her home 24/7. But after less than a week, his mother refused to have the support worker stay with her. Even then, the child was not removed from her care.

A month after Traezlin was released from hospital, he was rushed back to intensive care, this time with serious injuries to his brain and spine, and bruising on his body. He was placed on life support, but died a week later.


It’s no isolated case. In fact, Graff’s report bundles Traezlin’s death with those of two other First Nations children, both former foster kids who died of serious head injuries soon after being returned to their mothers.


While Graff doesn’t name them, the Journal has identified them as Jay Johnson, 15 months, of Maskwacis, who was killed in December 2015, and Shalaina Arcand, five, of Edmonton, who died in October 2015.
Jay’s mother, Florencine Potts, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in June to 30 months. Shalaina’s mother, Lauren LaFleche, was charged with second-degree murder and assault with a weapon in 2016, and is still facing trial.



All three mothers had major addiction issues, complicated home lives and long case histories with the child welfare system, Graff’s report said. In all three cases, he found, child welfare agencies returned children to their mothers without proper supports or followup.


Those mothers now all face justice. But who holds accountable the system that returned three vulnerable children to high-risk homes? Who takes responsibility for placing these children back in peril?

Graff’s job is to investigate and look for over-arching, systemic issues. He doesn’t assign blame or responsibility. Legally, he can’t.

The Progressive Conservative government, back in 2014, ordered “statutory reviews” of any child welfare death that raised serious procedural issues. The department was supposed to make the findings of such statutory reviews public. But in three years, not one single review has been completed, under either the PCs or the New Democrats.

And so, Graff makes recommendation after recommendation. Even if the province “accepts” them, they have no force and effect. Meanwhile, he’s just been given a new and expanded mandate to review every single death of a child receiving protective services — with no guarantee that he and his staff will have enough resources to tackle the job.

Are child welfare workers being pushed to reunite children with overwhelmed or negligent parents, either to save money, or for political and ideological reasons?

Graff’s report doesn’t say. But it’s the logical question to ask when we see a pattern of kids being returned to unsafe homes. Obviously, we don’t want the child welfare system ripping families, especially Indigenous families, apart without cause. Our history is far too full of that, and it hasn’t ended well.

And yes, family reunification is a worthy goal, for all kinds of cultural, historical and practical reasons.

But returning high-needs kids to unprepared parents who desperately need more support is setting them up to fail.

And returning children to their known (or suspected) abusers for the sake of making a political point is cruel madness.

But until someone holds “the system” accountable? Kids will just keep dying.

RELATED

Judge recommends Livia Starlight serve sentence at healing lodge
Flags raised over return of children to mother charged in toddler's death
Paula Simons: Too much mystery surrounds death of Shalaina Arcand
Child Advocate concerned over government inaction
psimons@postmedia.com

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Particularly Vulnerable

Particularly Vulnerable | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
https://www.google.ca/amp/nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/particularly-vulnerable-report-urges-more-support-for-reunified-families/wcm/15b36d29-c1ba-4267-a42f-49b14f837a77/amp

'Particularly vulnerable:' Report urges more support for reunified families
BY THE CANADIAN PRESS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: JUL 18, 2017


CALGARY — Alberta’s child and youth advocate is urging better support for children who are returned to their families after time in government care.

Del Graff says children are particularly vulnerable during periods of transition.

The advocate reviewed the deaths of three Indigenous children from separate families who died when they were just five, two and one.

The children — referred to by the pseudonyms Sarah, Anthony and Mikwan to protect their privacy — died between 2014 and 2015.

All three were taken into care when they were very young because of addictions, domestic violence and concerns about neglect in their households.

In all three cases, the children suffered multiple injuries shortly after they were returned to their families and their mothers were charged in their deaths.

“It is critical that more support is provided to children and families before and after they are reunified,” Graff said in a report released Tuesday.
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Alberta deaths of children for June 2017 http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/abuse-bullying/child-memorials.html

Alberta deaths of children for June 2017  http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/abuse-bullying/child-memorials.html | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

1The following children and youth who were receiving services recently passed away:

June 11, 2017 – A 16-year-old male receiving services (not in care)
June 5, 2017 – A three-year-old male receiving services (not in care)
June 2, 2017 – A 23-year-old female receiving services (not in care)
June 2, 2017 – A five-month-old male receiving services (in care)
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Vitamin D3, not D2, is key to tackling Vitamin D Deficiency 

News & Perspective
Vitamin D3, Not D2, Is Key to Tackling Vitamin D Deficiency

Liam Davenport
July 05, 2017
21
Vitamin D3 is significantly more effective at raising the serum biological marker of vitamin D status than vitamin D2 when given at standard doses in everyday food and drink, say UK researchers — findings that could have major implications for both current guidelines and the supplement industry.
In a randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplements, vitamin D3, which is derived from animal products, was associated with significantly higher serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels after 12 weeks than vitamin D2, which is plant-based and currently used in the vast majority of vitamin D supplements.

The research was published online July 5 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"The importance of vitamin D in our bodies is not to be underestimated, but living in the UK it is very difficult to get sufficient levels from its natural source, the sun, so we know it has to be supplemented through our diet," explained lead author Laura Tripkovic, PhD, department of nutritional sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, in a press release.
She added, "Our findings show that vitamin D3 is twice as effective as D2 in raising vitamin D levels in the body, which turns current thinking about the two types of vitamin D on its head."
"Those who consume D3 through fish, eggs, or vitamin D3-containing supplements are twice as likely to raise their vitamin D status [compared with those] consuming vitamin D2-rich foods, such as mushrooms, vitamin D2-fortified bread, or vitamin D2-containing supplements, helping to improve their long-term health."
Senior researcher Susan Lanham-New, PhD, head of the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Surrey, added: "This is a very exciting discovery that will revolutionize how the health and retail sector views vitamin D."
"Vitamin D deficiency is a serious matter, but this will help people make a more informed choice about what they can eat or drink to raise their levels through their diet."
Approached for comment, Robyn Lucas, MD, PhD, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, told Medscape Medical News: "I do think that this study really does show that vitamin D2 doesn't raise total 25(OH)D levels as effectively as vitamin D3."
"Clearly that has implications for any food fortification," she added, stressing that all vitamin D supplements in Australia are vitamin D3-based.
Dr Lucas continued, "Personally, I think the evidence suggests that it is only quite severe vitamin D deficiency that is problematic for health, so levels below, say, 30 nmol/L. In Australia, those levels are uncommon because we have so much sun."
"A higher proportion of the UK population will be in that category and should think about supplementation. This study shows that quite a modest dose of vitamin D3 was sufficient to raise levels well above 50 nmol/L. So it is also useful in showing that you really don't need big doses to achieve and maintain sufficient levels of 25(OH)D."
Current Guidelines State D3 and D2 Are Equivalent

Current guidelines by the US National Institutes of Health, UK Department of Health, and various other government bodies state that vitamins D2 and D3 are equivalent and achieve the same effect. However, emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D3 may be more effective in increasing serum total 25(OH)D levels.
Dr Tripkovic and colleagues therefore conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled fortification trial in which 335 South-Asian and white European women aged 20 to 64 years were assigned to placebo or one of four groups:
Placebo juice with placebo biscuit (placebo, n = 65).
Juice supplemented with 15-µg vitamin D2 with placebo biscuit (D2J).
Placebo juice with biscuit supplemented with 15-µg vitamin D2 (D2B).
Juice supplemented with 15-µg vitamin D3 with placebo biscuit (D3J).
Placebo juice with biscuit supplemented with 15-µg vitamin D3 (D3B).

The treatments were given daily for 12 weeks, and 59 placebo patients completed the study, alongside 60 D2J patients, 58 D2B patients, 59 D3J patients, and 55 D3B patients. All patients who started the study were included in the analysis, however, on an intention-to-treat basis.
Combining the two ethnic groups, researchers found that the placebo group experienced a 25% reduction in serum total 25(OH)D levels over the 12-week intervention, a mean absolute change of -11.2 nmol/L (P < .0001).
In contrast, the D2J and D2B groups saw increases in total 25(OH)D levels of 33% and 34%, respectively, while increases in the D3J and D3B groups were 75% and 74%, respectively.

Furthermore, the D3J group showed significantly higher increases in serum total 25(OH)D levels vs the D2J (16.9 nmol/L, P < .0005), D2B (16.0 nmol/L, P < .0003) and placebo (42.9 nmol/L, P < .0005) arms.
The D3B group was also associated with significantly higher increases in serum total 25(OH)D levels vs the D2B (15.2 nmol/L, P < .0003), D2J (16.3 nmol/L, P < .0005) and placebo (42.3 nmol/L, P < .0003) groups.
There were no significant differences between the D3B and D3J groups over the course of the intervention, and there were no significant interactions for ethnicity. However, South-Asian women appeared to have a greater response to both vitamin D2 and D3 than European women, which researchers ascribed to their lower baseline total 25(OH)D levels.

Findings May Also Help in Quest for Vitamin D to Reduce Diseases

Dr Tripkovic told Medscape Medical News that, in addition to potentially shaking up the supplement industry, their findings may help in the quest to link vitamin D supplementation to measurable clinical outcomes.
She said, "If other researchers want to understand the health benefits of vitamin D, with a hard outcome like bone health or cardiovascular disease...shoring up things like what we know about vitamin D is really important so that those who then take the research forward to look at health outcomes have a sound evidence base to design their study on."
The next steps required in terms of research to take the concept of food fortification forward include casting the net wider to determine which other foods containing vitamin D3 will be effective — as well as acceptable — to the general population, she said.

Moreover, Dr Tripkovic would like see more dose-response data to obtain a better sense of the lower end of the dose spectrum.
"We gave 600 IU, which was basically benchmarked against the American recommendation because, at the time we were drawing together the study, the UK didn't have a recommendation for vitamin D," she explained.
"Now the UK has come out with 10 µg/day, which is 400 IU."

She summarized, "So, it's understanding the lower doses, and it's understanding how food fortification can work with vitamin D in the population. It's bigger numbers, basically."
"The fact that we've managed to pull a lot of women out of deficiency over the wintertime has been really incredible to see and it's very exciting, so we're very hopeful, for the future, that we can keep getting research funding and carry on with our work," she concluded.
What About Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin D?

One issue this study does not address, said Dr Lucas, is the question of whether 25(OH)D derived from vitamin D2 [25(OH)D2] is less bioactive than 25(OH)D3.

"The challenge here is knowing what the outcome might be against which to measure bioactivity. It is the same problem that we have in being able to measure how much 25(OH)D is 'sufficient,' and hence the arguments about what level of 25(OH)D we should aim for."
"This is probably the most important outstanding question, but I'm not sure that it is going to be able to be answered," she said.
The study was supported by the UK-based Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of a BBSRC Diet and Health Research Industry Club grant. Dr Lanham-New is research director for D3Tex Ltd, which holds the UK patent (with Gulf Corporation Council patent pending) for the use of any UV-B material for the prevention of vitamin D deficiency in women who dress for cultural style. The other authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.

For more diabetes and endocrinology news, follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.
Am J Clin Nutr. Published online July 5, 2017. Abstract
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Pharmacists held criminally liable for opioid overdoses

Pharmacists Held Criminally Liable for Opioid Overdoses

Alicia Ault
June 30, 2017
14
As the US opioid epidemic continues to soar, physicians have been held criminally responsible for patients' overdose deaths. Now, it appears pharmacists are also criminally liable.
That's the opinion of pharmacy law experts who have watched the crisis unfold during the past decade.
Keith Yoshizuka, PharmD, JD, assistant dean for administration at the Touro University College of Pharmacy, Vallejo, California, notes, for example, that in 2015, a California physician, Lisa Tseng, MD, was convicted of second-degree murder for the overdose deaths of three patients. She was later sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
"I don't think it's too large of a leap to expect a pharmacist to face criminal liability in the event that one or several of the patients overdose on medications that were filled by that pharmacy," Dr Yoshizuka told Medscape Medical News. "I can see the district attorney going after that pharmacy or the pharmacist for second-degree murder for, basically, recklessness — criminal negligence. But demonstrating that liability is still not clear-cut," he added.
I don't think it's too large of a leap to expect a pharmacist to face criminal liability in the event that one or several of the patients overdose on medications that were filled by that pharmacy. Dr Keith Yoshizuka
Brian Gallagher, RPh, JD, associate professor at the Marshall University School of Pharmacy, Huntington, West Virginia, agreed.
"It's not illegal to dispense a controlled substance to someone who is an addict who has legitimate pain," Dr Gallagher told Medscape Medical News. "It's a very, very gray area — it's very subjective" for a pharmacist who is trying to decide whether a prescription should be dispensed, he said.
That's true despite state and federal regulations that guide pharmacists in the dispensing of controlled substances. In 1971, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) established the doctrine of corresponding responsibility, according to which a prescription for a controlled substance must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his or her professional practice. The responsibility for the proper prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances falls upon the prescribing practitioner, and a corresponding responsibility rests with the pharmacist who fills the prescription.
The DEA has also warned pharmacists to address or resolve "red flags," such as cash payments for controlled substances or patients who come to a pharmacy for a prescription but who live far away, before dispensing.
"Corresponding responsibility is perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood and/or unknown concepts found in DEA's regulations," writes DEA compliance attorney Larry Cote in a 2013 blog post. "And yet, enforcement actions against pharmacies are most frequently initiated when a pharmacist fails to exercise his/her corresponding responsibility," he adds.
And yet, enforcement actions against pharmacies are most frequently initiated when a pharmacist fails to exercise his/her corresponding responsibility. Larry Cote
Lost Licenses, Businesses, Careers

Some pharmacists in California seem not to be heeding the call to mind their corresponding responsibility or do their best to address red flags. Or perhaps they are just too harried — or don't have the right tools ― to weed out inappropriate or illegal prescriptions.
But judging by the rising number of investigations and disciplinary actions relating to controlled substances by the California Pharmacy Board, more often, pharmacists are paying the price in lost licenses, pharmacies, and careers.
The board fired a significant warning shot in 2013 when, after a long investigation that uncovered multiple failures to address red flags, it revoked the licenses of Pacifica Pharmacy and its pharmacist, Thang Q. Tran. An appeal was rejected.
The decision was considered precedential because it contained "a significant legal or policy determination of general application that is likely to recur," according to the board.
Others, such as a long-time owner of a pharmacy in the Los Angeles area, believe the board is going too far. That pharmacist says he chose to give up his license — and sell his business ― rather than fight the board any further after an investigation that lasted a year. The inquiry started in 2011, when the family of a young man who died in 2010 of an opioid overdose initiated a complaint with the board.
The prescribing physician — who eventually became an addict — took his own life before a medical board investigation had been completed. The pharmacy board conducted an on-site inspection of the pharmacy in 2013, and in a subsequent report, said that between 2008 and 2010, the pharmacist had filled more than 4500 controlled substance prescriptions from the doctor but failed to call him to verify any of them. The report also cited numerous failures to address red flags, such as filling prescriptions too early and making unauthorized refills.
The pharmacy provided lengthy explanations to the board to justify its practices and hired an attorney to represent it and its pharmacists during conferences with the board and an administrative law judge.
The pharmacy also paid for a forensics expert, who provided the coroner's records that showed that although the young man died from oxycodone intoxication, he had numerous other substances in his system, including MDMA (ecstasy) and metabolites of marijuana.
The pharmacist lost the case and chose not to spend more money on an appeal. The store paid a $35,000 fine, and the pharmacist paid a $7500 fine. Liability insurance covered some of the attorney's fees, but nothing else.
In another recent case, two Santa Barbara pharmacists agreed to surrender their licenses and pay a $15,000 fee to cover the costs of a board investigation that determined that they had ignored red flags with patients who had received prescriptions for controlled substances from a local physician who had come to be known as the "Candyman." The doctor, Julio Diaz, MD, was convicted in 2015 of 79 felony counts and received 27 years in federal prison.
The California Board of Pharmacy expects pharmacists to "use their judgment," said Virginia Herold, executive officer of the board. For every prescription, "they are to evaluate and make sure it is the right drug for the patient," she told Medscape Medical News.
Errors are not unexpected, and "unless it is a grossly negligent error, we will cite and fine," she said.
Errors are not unexpected, and unless it is a grossly negligent error, we will cite and fine. Virginia Herold
Growing Scrutiny

The number of investigations "has gone up over time," said Herold. She attributed it in part to the board's broadening responsibilities — the board regulates 33 types of licenses covering 45,000 pharmacists, more than 72,000 pharmacy technicians, more than 6800 intern pharmacists, and more than 3000 designated representatives.
The board has 49 investigators — up from 15 about 2 decades ago.
Dr Yoshizuka, who has consulted for the board, said that it is conservative in choosing investigations. "They won't pursue something unless they are pretty sure they are going to win," he said. "In order for them to get to a point where they are actually suspending or revoking someone's license, there has to be a lot of evidence."
As a consumer advocate who has worked for the board for almost 3 decades, Herold sees her agency's mandate as primarily focused on consumer protection. That is accomplished through enforcement of corresponding responsibility, she said.
A family whose loved one has suffered because of a prescription overdose or error "would want us to discipline that pharmacist that committed that error," said Herold.
Pharmacists also have been under growing scrutiny in West Virginia, a state that has been among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. The liability pendulum swung against the state's physicians and pharmacists in 2015, but it has recently taken a swing back toward the middle.
That year, West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose death in the United States, at 41.5 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The same year, the state's Supreme Court ruled that substance abusers could sue prescribers and pharmacists who supplied medications ― even if the patients acknowledged engaging in illegal activities, such as misleading doctors and pharmacists, engaging in doctor shopping, and ingesting the medications in amounts greater than prescribed, said Dr Gallagher.
Fearing a tide of suits, the state legislature soon came up with a response, introducing and passing a bill prohibiting anyone engaged in illegal activities from suing doctors or pharmacists. The bill was approved by the governor in early 2016.
West Virginia has tried to provide some support for pharmacists through another recently approved bill that was signed by Governor Jim Justice on April 26. Marshall University had a hand in crafting the legislation, said Dr Gallagher, who in addition to his pharmacy experience previously served 8 years in the state legislature.
For instance, Senate Bill 333 requires that overdoses — not just overdose deaths — be reported to the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Emergency department visits for overdoses "are a much bigger and better indicator that this person has a substance abuse problem," said Dr Gallagher. Pharmacists can check the PDMP, which means "they'll have a real idea, rather than just red flags," said Dr Gallagher.
The law also gives the Board of Pharmacy the authority to require designated "drugs of concern" to be reported to the PDMP.
Any time a controlled substance is prescribed or dispensed, the physician or pharmacist must record a long list of items of information, including who picked up the prescription and whether it was paid for in cash or by other means. If a prescriber dispenses a controlled substance directly to a patient, it can only be enough to cover 72 hours of treatment. The Board of Pharmacy will enact rules to determine where the reporting will occur.
The West Virginia Board of Medicine will also now be required to report more quickly and publicly on disciplinary actions.
How to Spot Red Flags

Pharmacists are still vulnerable, said Dr Gallagher, adding that malpractice insurance won't likely cover litigation costs if an opioid or other controlled substance was illegally dispensed.
The first line of protection is to ask questions. Although it may be hard to deny a patient a prescription — especially if it's a first visit — a pattern of ignoring red flags will attract scrutiny, Dr Keith Yoshizuka
The first line of protection is to ask questions, said Dr Yoshizuka. Although it may be hard to deny a patient a prescription — especially if it's a first visit — a pattern of ignoring red flags will attract scrutiny, he said.
Asking questions and checking PDMPs are time-consuming tasks. But Dr Gallagher noted that "a lot of pharmacies get themselves into trouble because they say, 'I don't have time to do all of this.' "
Not knowing how to spot red flags means getting more training, Dr Gallagher and Dr Yoshizuka agreed. "Everyone has a responsibility in trying to end this," said Dr Gallagher, adding, "You shouldn't have a pharmacy license if you don't know there's an opioid epidemic."
And the fight to end the epidemic is a major battle, with many casualties, including people who legitimately need pain medications, as well as physicians and pharmacists who aren't sure of, or ignore, their corresponding responsibility.
"It's unfortunate, but people everywhere are getting hit by the shrapnel of this," said Dr Gallagher.
Dr Yoshizuka has consulted for the California Board of Pharmacy and has been an expert witness for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Dr Gallagher has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
14 Comment
Medscape Medical News © 2017
Cite this article: Pharmacists Held Criminally Liable for Opioid Overdoses - Medscape - Jun 30, 2017.

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Velvet Martin's comment, July 3, 10:50 AM
Pharmacies should also have access to list of all drugs children are prescribed - whether an opioid or not - to avoid potential overdosing.
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Mary Aygelong's incredible gift of script 

Mary Aygelong's incredible gift of script  | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
I realize it’s dark, I have to get my little sister. I hurry down the hall to her bedroom. Her name is Sarah and she is four. Her birthday is two months away, but she is already holding out five fingers and telling me that’s how old she’s going to be. Right now she is sitting on the floor watching cartoons while she colors in a Cinderella coloring book. She is wearing pink pajama bottoms with purple dolphins on them and a Little Mermaid shirt I got at Goodwill for thirty-five cents.
She has a purple flip flop on one foot and a pink sock with white ruffles on the other. Her hair is pulled into a bunch of ponytails, it’s impossible to tell how many. Her hair always looks messy because Sarah won’t let anyone else touch it. She doesn’t have a good reason either, she just says, “It’s my hair, silly,” any time me or my mom offers to brush it. It drives my mom crazy, but I think it’s cute.
Dandelions are also poking out of Sarah’s pockets, almost like they grew there or something. Magic marker hearts are scribbled over her hands and arms. And red and yellow yarn is tied around her wrists in big bows, even though this morning she got the yarn caught in the front door and it almost yanked her arm off. But Sarah just said, “Bad door,” like the door did it on purpose, and skipped away.
Just looking at her makes me happy. That’s all I’m trying to say, I guess. And it’s her eyes that make me the happiest. I’m not sure the best way to describe them. They’re just full of sparkling light. Kind of like candles on a birthday cake, before anyone blows them out.
Sarah’s eyes only sparkle because my parents ignore her, pretty much. Since she’s been born, they’ve treated her like a pet they never wanted but were too lazy to get rid of. But that’s not going to last forever, I know. That’s why looking at Sarah also makes me sad.
Sometimes it makes me jealous too. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. Because my eyes don’t sparkle like hers do, and I wish they did, and it hurts to remember why they don’t. That’s why I don’t look in mirrors anymore. Which is why my hair is always messy too.
I walk into Sarah’s room and step on a Lite-Brite peg and say a bad word because those things can hurt when you’re barefoot. Sarah giggles and says, “Five cents, please.” I take a nickel from my pocket and drop it in the Little Mermaid teacup on the dresser. Cussing is one bad habit I’m trying to break, because for some reason I don’t want Sarah to cuss and I promised to pay her five cents every time I said a bad word because I thought it would help me quit, but so far it hasn’t. I mean, I’ve been searching the floors at school for loose change to pay her with because sometimes bad words are the only words I can use that really say what I’m feeling.
Next to the Little Mermaid teacup is a friendship bracelet kit I stole from Kmart. I’m glad I didn’t waste money buying it because those things are freaking impossible to make. That’s why Sarah ended up tying the yarn around her wrists in big bows. She said the bows were prettier than the bracelets anyway.
Sarah asks if I want to color and I tell her no, we have to go, remember? I can tell she remembers because she doesn’t fold her arms over her chest, tilt her head to the side, and give me that look of hers. She just says, “Do we have to?”
I tell her yes, we have to, and she says, “Fine,” like it’s anything but fine. I carry her down the hall to the closet and whisper sing You Are My Sunshine to distract her from the terrible noises our parents are making downstairs. I don’t think it works though, because usually Sarah will sing with me, but tonight she doesn’t. She just holds me a little tighter.
I put her down and open the closet door. Sarah says she forgot her kitty cat and runs back to her room. I get on my hands and knees and move all the boxes and board games out of the way. Sarah comes back with her kitty cat and climbs on my back. She is so small for her age, I can barely feel her. I tell her to hold on tight and she says, “I already am, butthead.” So I crawl under the coats and jackets to the back of the closet. It’s so dark and dusty, I can’t believe I’m making her sleep in here. It’s for her own good, I keep telling myself. It’s for her own good.
The dust makes me sneeze. Then Sarah sneezes and I sneeze again and Sarah has to dig her knees into my side so she doesn’t fall off. I move some boxes against the wall and Sarah crawls from my back onto a Sears TV box that is filled with People magazines. Then she rolls over the side and lands on an old sleeping bag I found out in the shed.
“You ok, girl?”
“I think so,” she says. “But it’s too dark in here, Mary, waaaaaaaaaaay too dark.”
This is the first time she’s complained about it. The first two nights she loved how dark it was. We looked for shooting stars and UFOs and pretended there were giant scary bats with orange eyes hanging upside-down in the corner. We sang songs in our whisper voices and pretended to be camping out in the jungle and we listened for elephants and lions and dinosaurs and we ate Gummy Bears and Twizzlers and drank apple juice boxes and then I gave her a plastic bowl and some toilet paper in case she had to go potty, but Sarah giggled and said she never had to go potty in the night. Then she rubbed her eyes and said she was sleepy and wanted her own bed and I had to tell her she had to stay in the closet by herself and she couldn’t leave for any reason unless I said it was ok. I told her not to move or make any noise at all if she heard Dad looking for her, she had to stay very, very still and very, very quiet, no matter what he said. That’s when the fun stopped and the questions started and suddenly the plastic bowl to go potty in wasn’t so funny anymore.
“I want my Casper nightlight,” Sarah says.
I tell her there is nowhere in the closet to plug it into. I also tell her the nice dinosaurs who only eat plants won’t come out unless it’s really, really dark, but that doesn’t help.
“I don’t want to see any dinosaurs,” she says.
I ask if a flashlight would help and she smiles and says a pink one might. So I tell her I’ll get her one tomorrow.
“Mary?”
“Yeah?”
“The floor hurts my head. I need my pillow.”
How could I have forgotten her pillow? I crawl out of the closet real fast and run to her room and grab her Little Mermaid pillow. I also remember to put some stuffed animals under her comforter so it looks like she’s still in bed, just in case my dad decides to look in for some reason.
Then I run back.
Sarah props the pillow under her head and tucks her kitty cat under her sleeping bag. Then she kisses my cheek and asks how long she has to sleep in here. I tell her I don’t know and she says that’s what I always say. She picks up a Barbie that is missing a head and takes a dandelion out of her pocket and pokes it in the hole where the head is supposed to be. Then she asks if Daddy is going to hurt her.
“No,” I say. “He’s not.”
“Why not?
“Because I won’t let him, that’s why.”
“But he’s bigger than you,” she says.
“I know.”
“Stronger too.”
“I know.”
She tucks the Barbie doll under her blanket and kisses it goodnight. “He hurts you, doesn’t he?” she asks.
I brush the hair from her eyes and tell her not to worry about me, I’m fine. I tell her everything will be ok, I’ll find a way to keep her safe. Then I tell her again not to leave the closet unless I say it’s ok, she has to stay very, very still and very, very quiet if she hears Dad’s voice.
“But I can’t sleep in here forever,” she says. “Can I?”
“No girl, not forever.”
“So?”
I stare at a spot on the wall.
“Mary … so?”
I keep staring and try not to cry.
Sarah pulls on my shirt and asks if Mommy knows. I tell her no, Mommy doesn’t know, this is our important secret and she is not to tell Mommy or anyone else. Plus, Mommy works almost every night, so she doesn’t need to know, not right now anyway, we can always tell her later. Sarah seems happy enough with that, I guess. Or maybe she’s just getting tired. She picks up a Gummy Bear from the floor and pops it in her mouth. Then she hugs me and says she loves me more than a dolphin.
“You do?”
“Yep … And dolphins are my favorite animal. So that means I love you a lot.”
I kiss her forehead. “Guess what?”
“What?”
“I love you more than a hundred million pink and purple polka-dot dolphins eating Froot Loops and doing back flips at the same time.”
Her eyes get big. “Wow,” she says. “That’s a lot … a real lot.”
I say, “Sleep tight, girl,” and crawl out of the closet and put everything back in place. Then I close the door, but I don’t leave. I just stand here.
By Mary Aygelong 
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Fluctuating Blood Pressure Linked to Dementia 

Fluctuating Home Blood Pressure Linked to Dementia

Marlene Busko
August 11, 2017
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FUKUOKA, JAPAN — Large variations in day-to-day home blood-pressure readings were tied to an increased risk of future Alzheimer's disease, independent of high systolic blood pressure, in a new study[1]. Having both factors predicted an increased risk of vascular dementia.
In this study of Japanese individuals who were 60 or older and measured their blood pressure each morning for a month, those with the most variable readings had more than twice the risk of being diagnosed with vascular dementia or Alzheimer's disease within 5 years vs those with stable readings.
These results, by Dr Emi Oishi (Kyushu University, Fukuoka City, Japan) and colleagues, were published August 7, 2017 in Circulation.
The findings suggest that adequately treating hypertension and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with low mental or physical stress and good sleep habits "could contribute to lower the blood-pressure variability, which might then lead to reduced risk of dementia," senior author Toshiharu Ninomiya, MD (Kyushu University) told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology in an email.
However, these are hypotheses, he cautioned, and whether blood-pressure variability is a modifiable risk factor for dementia or Alzheimer's disease needs to be confirmed in further study.
In an accompanying editorial[2], Drs Alexander E Merkler and Constantino Iadecola (Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY) agree. "If confirmed in a larger cohort, these findings may guide future prospective studies aimed at curtailing the risk of dementia by reducing" blood-pressure variability, they write.
"I think this is an important study," American Heart Association spokesperson Dr Mary Ann Bauman (Seattle, Washington) told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.
It "gives us information that not only will help physicians but will also help patients understand the importance of maintaining their blood pressure under control" with stable readings, she said, adding, like the others, that further research is needed including study in other populations.
Day-to-Day BP and Future Dementia

Several studies have reported that having greater variations in visit-to-visit blood-pressure readings in a doctor's office increases the risk of future cognitive impairment and dementia, but these measurements may be less accurate due to "white-coat" hypertension.
While 48-hour ambulatory blood-pressure readings may provide a truer measure of fluctuations, they note, this method is cumbersome.
Instead, Oishi and colleagues aimed to study the relationship between fluctuations in blood-pressure readings taken using a blood-pressure cuff at home each morning for a month and the risk of future vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
They identified 1674 individuals in the Hisayama Study who were at least 60 years old in 2007 and free of dementia, who agreed to participate.
The subjects (738 men and 936 women) were instructed to measure their blood pressure three times after more than 5 minutes of rest, within an hour of getting up and before having breakfast or taking any medication, for 4 weeks.
All participants were given the same digital electronic device (HEM-70801C, Omron Healthcare) based on the cuff oscillometric method. Almost all (99%) provided readings for 28 days.
At baseline, the subjects had a mean age of 71 and a mean blood pressure of 138/77 mm Hg, and 43% were taking an antihypertensive agent.
The patients were divided into quartiles based on their day-to-day variations in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Dementia diagnoses were adjudicated by neurologists or psychiatrists and based on clinical information, neuroimaging (in 95% of cases), and brain autopsy (in 21 cases).
During a median follow-up of 5.3 years, 194 patients (72 men and 122 women; 11.6%) developed all-cause dementia, of whom 47 had vascular dementia and 134 had Alzheimer's disease.
The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of all-cause dementia, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer's disease increased with increasing levels of variation in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Patients with the highest vs lowest variability in blood pressure had a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer's or vascular dementia during follow-up.
Adjusted Dementia Risk, Most vs Least Variation in Systolic BPa,b
Dementia type HR (95% CI) P
Vascular 2.79 (1.04–7.51) 0.03
Alzheimer's disease 2.22 (1.31–3.75) <0.001
All-cause 2.27 (1.45–3.55) <0.001
Quartile 4 (>7.60% coefficient of variation) vs quartile 1 (<5.07% coefficient of variation)
Adjusted for age, sex, education, antihypertensives, ECG abnormalities, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, body mass index, cardiovascular disease, smoking, alcohol, exercise, and mean home systolic blood pressure
It is not clear whether blood-pressure variability is a modifiable risk factor for dementia, Ninomiya said. Variations in blood pressure may cause changes in brain structure and function that lead to the development of dementia, he noted. On the other hand, blood-pressure variability may simply be a marker of nonmodifiable neurodegeneration. Further studies are needed to explore this.
In the meantime, "we could say that the patients with greater blood-pressure variabilities should avoid poor adherence to medication and an unhealthy lifestyle," because these are known causes of blood-pressure variability.
The authors and editorialists have no relevant financial relationships.
For more from theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
7 Comment References
Medscape Medical News © 2017
Cite this article: Fluctuating Home Blood Pressure Linked to Dementia - Medscape - Aug 11, 2017.
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Edmonton lawyer wins $50K in defamation lawsuit against police union

Edmonton lawyer wins $50K in defamation lawsuit against police union | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
A prominent Alberta criminal defence lawyer has successfully sued the Edmonton Police Association for $50,000 after one of its former director
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Gender dysphoria and autism | Network Autism

Gender dysphoria and autism | Network Autism | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Gender dysphoria and autism
Image of Wenn Lawson
Dr Wenn Lawson is a highly regarded psychologist, lecturer and author who is passionate about the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. Dr Lawson is autistic and has studied, researched and worked with autistic people for over 20 years. In this article, Dr Lawson discusses the journey taken to accept feelings of gender dysphoria.
Download a PDF version of this article
Gender dysphoria and autism
I am sharing some aspects of my journey to date in the hope this will contribute to understanding, acceptance and support. Receiving an official assessment of gender dysphoria is only the start of dealing with the symptoms.
I am writing this to let you know some of the facts and struggles of being a transgendered person with autism. For many of us, gender dysphoria (GD) is a lifelong condition that we haven’t had a name for. Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
Biological sex is assigned at birth, determined by chromosomes and depending on the appearance of the genitals, but biological sex, could be male, while the gender identity could be female (and vice versa). It’s important to know that anatomical genitalia does not ‘make’ the gender identity (GI) of that person. Therefore, even if one believes their true GI is not in agreement with their physical aspects, they can chose to live in that GI without surgical intervention. It’s not ‘what’s in your pants’ that counts, it’s the man or woman that you are.
When an individual believes they are male or female born into the wrong body, in order to unite body and mind, we need to explore the changes transitioning brings. To do this we can talk to others of like mind, read stories and watch videos of others who have taken such a journey. If transitioning from one body to a different gendered version of that body is the conclusion we arrive at, we need to do our homework and appreciate the costs: emotionally, physically, socially, medically & financially.
The biology of gender
Gender dysphoria is not diagnosed if the symptoms co-occur with a physical intersex condition (mixed chromosomes and/or genitalia).
During early pregnancy, all unborn babies are female, because only the female sex chromosome (the X chromosome), which is inherited from the mother, is active. At the eighth week of gestation, the sex chromosome that is inherited from the father becomes active; this can either be an X chromosome (female) or a Y chromosome (male). If the sex chromosome that is inherited from the father is X, the unborn baby (foetus) will continue to develop as female with a surge of female hormones. The female hormones work in harmony with the brain, reproductive organs and genitals, so that the anatomical sex and gender identity (brain sex) are both female.
If the sex chromosome that is inherited from the father is Y, the foetus will develop as biologically male. The Y chromosome causes a surge of testosterone and other male hormones, which starts the development of male characteristics, such as testes. The testosterone and other hormones work in harmony on the brain, reproductive organs and genitals, so that the sex and gender are both male. Therefore, in most cases, a female baby has XX chromosomes and a male baby has XY chromosomes, and there is no mismatch between biological sex and gender identity.
Sexual and gender identity
It is important to know that GI is not the same as sexual orientation, as one’s internal sense of gender identity may be different to one’s sexual orientation.
Sexual and gender identity are not binary concepts. They may change at various points during one’s life. Being a sexual human is a right and channelling one’s sexual ‘beingness’ needs to be done right. It is never right to punish a behaviour that is human, right and alright. Just like with recognising autism spectrum conditions (ASC), we need to recognise individual gender and sexuality, because gender is also a spectrum, it is not black and white. We only have two words in English- male and female to represent gender, but the reality is quite different.
Mis-gendering is common practise because our prejudices/ belief systems tell us that the body dictates the gender. However it’s not that simple! We need to be ‘in tune’ with the individual. Which means, observing, putting aside one’s own agenda, and working ‘with’ the individual to uncover what’s best for them.
How to tell an autistic individual’s ‘state of gender’?
How do we know an autistic individual is living with GD and not another ‘special interest?’ What if their gender status is simply an obsession or they are copying others?
Consider these two examples:
A Boy who loves soft material and plays only with girls says ‘I like soft things, I play with dolls with long hair, & I play with girls, I must be a girl’.
Another says: I love dresses and drawing… girls wear dresses, I must be a girl.
Actually, the above single minded thinking may be related more to ASC than to gender ID.
Drew says: ‘’I’ve recently been making exciting and very daunting discoveries about my gender. As a result, I currently identify as “30% ‘George Clooney’ and 70% ‘Georgina Clueless”. I’m frantically researching all the posh names for where I’m at and I’m guessing that I’m non-binary / gender-queer with a degree of gender fluidity. Essentially, I live on Planet Drew, which has an erratic rotation around the Gender System. We’re currently quite close to Venus. I’m an adult fan of Lego, a sci-fi geek, Doctor Who fan and the occasional gamer. I’ve also discovered that I can ‘do’ liquid eyeliner, which is nice!
What happens after you discover you have GD?
What happens once an individual has moved to the reality they are living with gender dysphoria is an individual decision. Some of us seek assessment to confirm our belief and then follow the course suggested by the doctor. Some of us seek out a gender specific clinic and an endocrinologist (physician specialising in hormone treatment) who can set the appropriate course of hormone replacement. Others choose to do none of these but confidently declare to ourselves and others we will now be known as a woman or a man, in place of the gender we were born into. Whatever the choice, we need respect and support, either way.
In the autism population
In the world of autism spectrum conditions (ASC) about 20% of us live with GD. This can be apparent in very young children who refuse to wear the appropriate clothing for their anatomical sex (e.g. girls who refuse to wear dresses and boys who refuse to wear trousers wanting to wear dresses instead). They might also insist upon being called by an opposite gender name that they have chosen, rather than the one given to them. If this is a ‘special interest’ that an ASC child has adopted, it’s unlikely to last. But, in children especially, the possibility of gender dysphoria must be considered, and parents need to watch out for the clues. These might be:
looking for gender biased separate interests
wishing they were a girl (or boy)
dressing in girls (or boys) clothes,
wanting to play with toys stereotypically used by the opposite gender
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Once HRT Is commenced, especially in female to male (FTM), many of the changes will be permanent and cannot be reversed. The decision to transition must never be considered lightly and must always be closely monitored by a specialist physician (e.g. endocrinologist).
I’ve put some other web addresses below for you to check out. They lead to videos that sum up the story of one individual’s journey. This young man and his wife are role models for many of us living with an autism spectrum condition and we identify with lots of the things he and his wife Tiffany, say in the videos. I have also included some medical information you might be interested in that states being transgender is a biological condition and not simply a ‘mental’ state. It’s not about us choosing this, but about ending the struggle of living with a disconnection from who we really are, in other words, it chooses us.
Further reading:
http://www.news-medIcal.net/health/Causes-of-Gender-DysphorIa.aspx
http://www.huffIngtonpost.com/2013/06/04/gender-dysphorIa-dsm-5_n_338528...
http://www.nhs.uk/CondItIons/Gender-dysphorIa/Pages/Causes.aspx
http://www.med.monash.edu.au/gendermed/IdentIty.html
Follow other people's journeys:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEXL908cqAw
https://plus.google.com/117441729018847156617/posts
http://www.ps3youtube.com/user/ElectrIcDade
Author: Wenn Lawson
Date added: 26 May 2015
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Class Action Lawsuit Against HPV Vaccine Filed in Colombia 



Class Action Lawsuit Against HPV Vaccine Filed in Colombia

Carlos Guevara
August 07, 2017
A class action lawsuit has been filed in Colombia against the Colombian government and Merck Sharp & Dohme by a group representing 700 individuals who allege that they have been damaged by Gardasil, the company's human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
An ongoing class action lawsuit over the HPV vaccine in Japan involves 63 plaintiffs.
The Colombian Rebuilding Hope Association (Asociación Reconstruyendo Esperanza), represented by the lawyer Monica León del Río, filed a class action on August 4 seeking compensation of at least 490,000 million Colombian pesos (approximately $30.5 million). The association is calling for compensation for the damage allegedly due to the vaccine, mainly symptoms that affect the immune and neurologic systems, and also is calling for a declaration that the vaccine is unsafe.
However, the safety of the HPV vaccine has been repeatedly confirmed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a 2009 JAMA article on the postlicensure safety surveillance for quadrivalent HPV recombinant vaccine, the authors reported that the most frequently reported side effects were lower grade, including excessive pain in the area of application and occasional headaches or dizziness, at rates of 7.5 cases per 100,000 doses.
The most comprehensive study on this subject followed up on more than 2 million women and reported a statistically nonsignificant association between exposure to the vaccine and severe adverse events, such as demyelinating diseases (including Guillain-Barré syndrome).
H PV Vaccines in Colombia

In Colombia, the use of HPV vaccine in government public health initiatives dates back to 2006, with implementation of the three-dose scheme in 2012.
Dr Lina María Trujillo, coordinator of the Gynecologic Oncology Group of the National Institute of Oncology in Colombia, commented to Medscape Medical News that the lack of trust started in 2014, when a group of girls who had recently been vaccinated presented various symptoms, possibly associated with food poisoning. Although a causal link was never shown, the rumor that the vaccine had caused the symptoms spread, and the association for the alleged victims of the vaccine, led by the local lawyer Monica León del Río, was formed.
León del Río had already submitted similar lawsuits, which were made public knowledge by the Colombian Rebuilding Hope Association. A 2015 lawsuit aimed to force the Colombian government to generate a record of cases of vaccine adverse effects, as well as to institute federal monthly compensation to the alleged victims.
This article was produced in collaboration with the Spanish edition of Medscape.
Follow Medscape Oncology on Twitter: @MedscapeOnc
Medscape Medical News © 2017
Cite this article: Class Action Lawsuit Against HPV Vaccine Filed in Colombia - Medscape - Aug 07, 2017.
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Tragedies cloaked in secrecy 

Tragedies cloaked in secrecy  | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Force RCMP to do a criminal Investigation of Children's Aid and the Alberta Justice Lawyers who helped hide the deaths of 685 Foster Children from the public.
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Disabled children and young people: extending participation

In 2008 Bradford City council became one of the pathfinder councils receiving funding from the government's transformation program, 'Aiming Higher fo
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Alzheimer Society of Toronto - The Spirit of John

Alzheimer Society of Toronto - The Spirit of John | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
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The Spirit of John, now in its third year, is an incredible night of music and revelry that celebrates John Mann, his music, and the powerful effect melody can have on memory.

John has helped raise awareness about music therapy for people living with dementia, but now that John’s own young-onset Alzheimer's has progressed, it’s our turn to play the music. John’s Set List for the evening will be custom made by John’s friends and family, and each song will be performed by a special guest with the house band.

The whole gang from Spirit of the West will be joined on stage by Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize (Skydiggers), Chris Tait (Chalk Circle), Kevin Kane (Grapes of Wrath), Martin Tielli (Rheostatics), Tom Wilson, Danny Michel, and many, many more.

All proceeds of the concert go to support the Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s Music Project which provides personalized playlists and iPods for people living with dementia in Toronto. Concert-goers will be participating in the second annual Fund-A-Need, which aims to raise enough money to supply music to 400 people living with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

This show sells out quickly, so buy your tickets and get ready to donate!

TICKETS


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Canada’s Unofficial National Anthem

If you grew up in Canada during the ‘80s and ‘90s, then you are most likely familiar with the music of Spirit of the West, the B.C. band that is as much about folk music as it is about Celtic, Rock, Pop and Pop. Led by singer John Mann, songs like Home for a Rest secured their way into every local bar, wedding and the heart of every Canadian.

In early September of 2014, John Mann posted a message on his blog to his fans. At the age of 51, he announced that he has young-onset Alzheimer’s disease. In his post, John wrote,

“I don’t want to spend any more energy trying to hide my symptoms. I don’t want to feel embarrassed. I want to accept what has happened and live.”

According to his wife Jill, much of the day can slip by without any words passing John’s lips, the silence cut short only as the Spirit of the West's frontman slides on a pair of headphones and allows familiar melodies to awaken his memory.

She says the experience of watching her partner and father of their two children slowly drift away has been overwhelming.

"Basically you have this extended deep daily pain as you experience a little bit of loss every day," she said. "It's awful; it's devastating for every person who's dealing with this."

John’s navigation of Alzheimer’s has been captured in the powerful, emotional documentary Spirit Unforgettable, showcasing Spirit of the West's countdown to their live performance at Massy Hall.



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NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS


Thanks to our generous supporters, all of our events are free.



Webinar: Brain Health
August 9, 2017
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Caregiver Stress
August 14, 2017
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Understanding Behaviour and Communication Strategies
August 21, 2017
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Alzheimer Society of Toronto
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7 A’s of Dementia
August 14, 24, or 29, 2017
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Three faces of a System's failure

Three faces of a System's failure | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Three faces of a system’s failure: Children in child advocate's latest report identified

Edmonton JournalEDMONTON JOURNAL
More from Edmonton Journal
Published on: July 19, 2017 | Last Updated: July 19, 2017 12:41 PM MDT
Traezlin Starlight, Jay Johnson and Shalaina Arcand.
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Three First Nation children who died shortly after being returned to their mothers’ care are the subject of Alberta child and youth advocate Del Graff’s latest report.
In each case, the children spent much of their short lives living in foster care, as their biological parents faced challenges with substance abuse, neglect and domestic violence.

The Edmonton Journal has identified the three children.

Traezlin Denzel Starlight, age two:



• Born prematurely and with symptoms of exposure to drugs, the “playful, active and content little boy” was apprehended as a newborn and placed in foster care with his siblings.
• Over time, the children’s mother began having longer visits with the children as she worked to get sober.

• Bruising was noticed on the boy’s back. While an investigation took place into the boy’s foster home, he and his siblings were left in their mother’s care.

• Two months later, the boy was taken to the hospital with a serious head injury. The mother offered inconsistent stories about the cause, and concerns were raised about the level of supervision in her home and her ability to cope, yet the toddler remained in her care after leaving the hospital.


• A month after his discharge, the boy was again taken to hospital with serious injuries to his brain and spine, and bruising on his body. He died a few days later on Sept. 25, 2014.

• His mother, Livia Starlight, from the Tsuut’ina reserve near Calgary, was charged with second-degree murder, but eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She recently received a four-year sentence. With time served, she will spend an additional 26 months behind bars.

• In an agreed statement of facts, Starlight said frustration over the toddler’s whining prompted her to throw him onto a couch that had hard-surfaced arms.

Jay Johnson, age 15 months:



• The second youngest of seven siblings, Graff’s report describes the boy as a generally healthy child who “loved to cuddle and fall asleep while being held.”
• The boy was placed in foster care shortly after his birth, along with his brothers and sisters.

• A year later, the children’s parents completed an addictions program and began getting a home ready to have their kids returned. In the meantime, it was decided the family would move in with relatives.

• Problems developed over the next several weeks, including the resumption of drug use. Repairs were completed on the family’s home, but caseworkers soon learned the children’s parents had separated.

• Two days later, on Dec. 5, 2015, while a mandatory supervision order was being discussed, paramedics were called to the home and found the boy dead from head trauma.

• His mother, Florencine Leandra Potts, was charged with second-degree murder, but later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She recently received a sentence of 30 months, including credit for 17 months of time served.

• Foster parents said they warned caseworkers against returning Jay and his siblings to the care of their biological parents.

Shalaina Arcand, age five:


• A premature baby, the girl developed a severe speech and language delay, and was unsettled at night.

• She was taken into care at 10 months, and lived in three different foster homes.

• The girl’s mother had problems with substance abuse and anger management, though she did eventually complete treatment programs. After nearly a year of sobriety, the mother was put in care of the girl and her two siblings.

• Within a three-month period, there were three incidents in which the girl was injured, though the mother’s explanations were accepted without followup.

• The mother declined further use of a family support worker, and involvement with the child intervention system ended a short time later.

• The girl was hospitalized six weeks later with a serious head injury, trauma to her internal organs and extensive bruising. She died within a few days, in October 2015.

• A year-long investigation led to police charging her mother, Lauren LaFleche, with second-degree murder. The case has yet to go to trial.

Read the full story here.
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Government’s Child Protection Bill Falls Short

Government’s Child Protection Bill Falls Short | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
https://m.facebook.com/notes/jason-nixon/governments-child-protection-bill-falls-short/1844641812216239/

Jason Nixon

Government’s Child Protection Bill Falls Short

JUNE 28, 2017 · PUBLIC

For Albertans wanting to see justice and resolution for children killed while under the government’s care, there is still work to be done to entrench stronger measures of accountability even after the government passed new legislation this spring.

Just a few years ago, we discovered the secretive nature of the system failing to publicly report the death of a child while in government care.

We know that multiple authorities, sometimes with overlapping mandates, are tasked with reviewing deaths, but so many have made recommendations which seem to sit on a shelf for years.

Someone has to be ultimately responsible for the review process, because learning from past mistakes is critical so history does not repeat itself.

Under the government’s Bill 18, the Child and Youth Advocate is mandated to review all deaths of children under 20 years of age who received intervention services within two years prior to the person’s death.

The Advocate’s annual report, which is to contain all of its child death reviews for that year, will be given to the legislative assembly for review.

The Child Intervention Panel, of which I am a member, asked for a committee of the legislature to follow up on the Advocate’s recommendations resulting from those reviews. The committee would call in department officials to testify and report on progress.

Bill 18 established that the Advocate would have an “Audit Advisory Committee” but this committee is not about accountability. This committee is to review the Advocate’s reports and provide feedback to the Advocate before their release.

The only measure in Bill 18 to ensure government accountability? The government department that receives a recommendation is to publicly respond within 75 days. That’s it. It’s not clear what counts as a sufficient response.

Thankfully, the government accepted our amendment so that the law clearly states that the Advocate’s annual report is to be made public and a legislative committee is to examine it within a mandated time frame. Still, this measure falls short of the Panel’s original intent.

Furthermore, Bill 18 does not address the Panel’s recommendations for the government’s internal death review process, which is that internal reviews should be completed within one year. It is important to hold the government accountable, as not one internal death review has been completed to date.

My Wildrose colleagues and I voted in support of this bill because it contains some worthwhile measures. But let’s be clear. This bill is only the start and we will continue to push this government for an improved child intervention system and for more government accountability.

The reports by the Child and Youth Advocate let us know when there are problems. It is critical that everyone works together to find solutions.
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26 young people receiving intervention services died in one-year period, new Alberta report says

26 young people receiving intervention services died in one-year period, new Alberta report says | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
26 young people receiving intervention services died in one-year period, new Alberta report says

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/26-young-people-receiving-intervention-services-died-in-one-year-period-new-alberta-report-says

Paige ParsonsPAIGE PARSONS
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Published on: July 4, 2017 | Last Updated: July 4, 2017 6:38 PM MDT
Members of the public attend the Alberta government's new Child Intervention Panel held at Government House in Edmonton on February 1, 2017.
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The manner in which 14 children and youths died while receiving government intervention remains undetermined, according to a recent provincial report.
In its 2016-17 annual report, the Children’s Services department reported 26 young people died while receiving services. Eight of those were in care while 16 were not in care, but were receiving services. Two of the youths were over 18, but were still receiving support.

The manner of death for 14 young people has yet to be determined by the chief medical examiner, the report said.

Three deaths were accidental, one was determined to be medical, and two were suicides.

The report states that the remaining six children died in hospital and that the attending physicians determined the cause of death was natural, hence a review by a medical examiner was not required.


The report gives no information about the specific causes of death.
Alberta child and youth advocate Del Graff said he hopes the Children’s Services ministry will adopt a more robust internal review process, as well as pay more heed to external recommendations, including those made by his office.

“If we want to find ways to prevent child deaths, we’ve got to review the circumstances of those deaths and try to learn from it for future prevention,” Graff said Tuesday.


Graff couldn’t say how the information compares to other years because his office tracks deaths differently, and is notified not only about deaths of children currently receiving services, but also those who had interactions with the intervention system at any point in the two years prior to their death.

But Graff said in looking to the future, he’s hopeful about the changes proposed by a legislative child intervention panel struck after details of a young indigenous girl’s death was revealed by the Edmonton Journal.

Four-year-old Serenity was in government care when she died in 2014, weighing just 18 pounds and arriving at hospital with severe injuries that included a fractured skull and a body covered in deep bruises, including her anal and genital areas.


The report also identified 13 “serious” but non-fatal injuries, including four stabbings, three assaults, two drug overdoses, a car crash, one dog attack, one suicide attempt and one case of broken ankles from a jump.
The report tracked data from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.

pparsons@postmedia.com


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More evidence links sleep to Alzheimer's Disease

More Evidence Links Sleep to Alzheimer's Disease

Pauline Anderson
July 05, 2017
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Researchers have uncovered new evidence of a link between disturbed sleep and Alzheimer's disease (AD) that involves neuronal damage and inflammation in addition to amyloid plaques.
Investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that self-report of inadequate sleep and greater daytime sleepiness in older, middle-aged, cognitively normal persons is associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of amyloid deposition in combination with tau pathology, axonal degeneration, and neuroinflammation.
Previous research has also suggested a link between sleep and AD.

Dr Barbara B. Bendlin
"What's new about our study is that participants were somewhat younger than in prior studies, none of them had dementia yet, and we also were able to look at these novel markers in CSF," Barbara B. Bendlin, PhD, associate professor, medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, told Medscape Medical News.
"The results are, again, providing support that quality of sleep and brain changes may be linked. But the follow-up to that would be to see if modifying sleep could potentially protect the brain," she added.
The study was published online July 5 in Neurology.
CSF Biomarkers

The study included 101 participants in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP), mean age 64 years, who had undergone lumbar punctures to provide CSF samples, were cognitively normal, and had completed sleep questionnaires.
One of these questionnaire was the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Sleep Scale, which provides scores in six sleep domains, derived from 12 questions. Another was the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), which rates the likelihood of dozing off in eight common situations, with higher scores indicating greater sleepiness.
Researchers also conducted secondary analyses of symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and being short of breath upon wakening.
CSF biomarker data included amyloid deposition and plaque formation (Aβ42), tau phosphorylation state and tau pathology (p-tau), axonal degeneration (t-tau), neurofilament light (NFL), neuroinflammation (MCP- 1), chitinase-3–like protein 1 (YKL-40), and synaptic dysfunction/degeneration (neurogranin).
Aβ42 was expressed in ratios to Aβ40, and the other biomarkers were expressed in ratios to Aβ42. CSF Aβ42 decreases as plaque burden increases, whereas the other CSF markers are elevated when pathology is greater. So lower Aβ42 and Aβ42/Aβ40 indicate greater pathology, while ratios of other markers to Aβ42 indicate greater pathology when elevated.
Investigators classified study participants into carriers or noncarriers of one or more APOE ε4 alleles.
The investigators found that lower Aβ42/Aβ40 levels were associated with worse sleep adequacy and that increased phosphorylated tau, total tau, NFL, MCP-1, and YKL-40, which reflect greater neuropathology, were associated with somnolence and/or sleep problems.
The researchers found essentially the same relationships in the approximately 30% of the study participants who had an APOE ε4 allele.
"So even though the group is enriched for genetic risk for sporadic AD, in this case we didn't see different relationships between the carriers and noncarriers," said Dr Bendlin.
"That may be not surprising because we know that people who are noncarriers, who don't carry genetic risk, can develop dementia in future as well."
No Link to Sleep Apnea?

Interestingly, CSF biomarkers of AD pathology were associated with daytime sleepiness according to the MOS but not the ESS. The difference could be due to the somnolence subscale assessing "resistible" sleepiness, wherein individuals feel drowsy and deliberately nap, whereas the ESS assesses "irresistible" sleepiness, which means falling asleep in inappropriate situations.
"They are probably capturing slightly different self-report qualities of sleep," said Dr Bendlin.
The study did not show a relationship between CSF biomarkers and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which the authors found surprising given the evidence that OSA is a risk factor for dementia.
It's possible, they note, that OSA impedes the transfer of proteins into the CSF, altering the relationship between CSF concentrations and central nervous system pathology in patients with OSA.
It also might be that OSA severity in the sample was too low to detect a relationship with CSF, as on average participants rated their snoring frequency as low.
Dr Bendlin said the study relied on self-report measures and did not objectively measure sleep apnea. "It's not uncommon for people who have sleep apnea not to know about it."
The researchers previously showed that poor sleep was associated with greater brain amyloid burden, but the new research reveals further relationships between sleep and CSF biomarkers of cumulative AD pathology.
Modifiable Risk Factor

"These CSF biomarkers have not been validated for predicting future dementia," so there's no proven "abnormal level" of a CSF biomarker that shows someone will develop dementia, said Dr Bendlin.
CSF and brain imaging are both "good tools" for studying the development of AD, with each providing complementary information, she said.
"From one CSF sample, we can measure a lot of different proteins, but on the other hand, when we use brain imaging such as amyloid PET [positron emission tomography], we can actually see where in the brain the amyloid is accumulating."
The authors noted that abnormalities may become apparent in CSF before PET and that CSF can be collected and assayed by using widely available methods. In contrast, PET remains more expensive and requires substantial infrastructure.
It's important to identify modifiable risk for AD —including sleep — given that delaying the onset of AD by a mere 5 years would reduce AD cases by 5.7 million and save $367 billion in healthcare spending in the United States, the authors note.
"Many effective pharmaceuticals, devices and behavioral interventions are already available in the clinic for improving sleep quality," they write.
A limitation of the study was its design. "There is evidence of bidirectional relationships between sleep and amyloid that cannot be disentangled by this cross-sectional study design," the authors write.
Another limitation was that the study measured sleep through self-report.
"Objective sleep measures such as actigraphy and polysomnography would clarify the contribution of sleeping brain activity, breathing, and sleep-wake rhythmicity to AD pathogenesis" they note.
The researchers are planning a prospective study that will include objective measures of sleep, including OSA, said Dr Bendlin.
Extending the Evidence

In an accompanying editorial, Adam P. Spira, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Yo-El S. Ju, MD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, note that the study's use of lesser-known and subjective measures of sleep, with some subscales comprising only two or three items, "is arguably its greatest limitation."
The lack of objective assessment of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), which has been associated with CSF measures of both amyloid and tau pathology and with increased risk for cognitive decline, was another limitation for the editorial writers. SDB, they write, is one of the most common and treatable causes of sleep disturbances in the older population.
The editorialists told Medscape Medical News the study's most important contribution is that it extends previous research on the link between sleep disturbances and amyloid deposition.
"Prior studies have already shown an association between amyloid plaques — the first known step of Alzheimer's disease — and sleep disturbance," said Dr Ju.
"This study adds to that by showing an association between tau and other Alzheimer's disease biomarkers, which occur later in the Alzheimer's disease process and sleep disturbance."
Dr Ju agreed that it's too early for clinicians to rely on these biomarkers to detect early signs of dementia.
"Since there are no currently known treatments that reverse the AD process, there is no role for CSF biomarker testing for Alzheimer disease in cognitively normal individuals," she said.
However, she added, treatments are being tested in the preclinical stage of AD through, for example, the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network Treatment Unit (DIAN-TU) study and the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer's (A4) study.
"If any of these treatments are shown to be effective, then there would be a strong reason to screen for AD biomarkers — either through neuroimaging or CSF."
The new findings suggest that while nocturnal sleep may be disturbed early in the process of amyloid deposition, daytime somnolence may be a sign of neurodegeneration and "a window of opportunity for intervention," the editorialists write.
Dr Bendlin has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr Spira is supported in part by grants from the National Institute on Aging and received funding from the William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation. He has agreed to serve as a consultant to Awarables Inc, in support of a National Institutes of Health(NIH) grant. Dr Ju received funding from NIH grants and an investigator-initiated research grant from Philips-Respironics, received honoraria and travel funding from the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and has immediate family members who received honoraria from the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Mercy Hospital St. Louis.
Neurology. Published online July 5, 2017.
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Where's the bloody outrage; where's the change? Trudeau 

Where's the bloody outrage; where's the change? Trudeau  | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Where's the bloody outage?

Justin Trudeau Says Alberta Foster Care Deaths Shocking, Calls For Change http://m.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/28/justin-trudeau-alberta-foster-care-deaths_n_4682809.html?utm_hp_ref=ca-foster-care-deaths-alberta

Justin Trudeau Says Alberta Foster Care Deaths Shocking, Calls For Change
01/28/2014 06:51 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 07:59 EST
Seema DhawanThe Huffington Post Alberta

CP
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he is shocked by the high number of children who have died while in the Alberta foster care system and has called on all levels of government to deal with the issue.

In a newly released letter sent to Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman in December, Trudeau noted that the majority of deaths were of Aboriginal children.

"These deaths were preventable, and we must work to ensure that this horrific trend is reversed," he said.

"The alarming rate of deaths among Aboriginal children follows an unfortunate and all-too familiar pattern in our country, and the persistent gap in economic and social conditions for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada simply cannot be allowed to endure."

In November, theAlberta Liberals asked the prime minister for a public inquiry into the deaths of foster children after a series of Postmedia stories revealed that the province covered up the deaths of 89 foster care children since 1999.

"It is the responsibility of all levels of government to work together," said Trudeau.

"This must include ending the funding disparity for Aboriginal Child Welfare agencies, as every child deserves the same level of support, care and equality of opportunity."

Sherman echoed the sentiment, saying "The federal government has a duty to the First Nations."

"The big question is why do we have so many children in government care to begin with," he told The Huffington Post Alberta. He says improving the lives of children so they don't need government care at all is a more holistic and economical approach.

The Alberta government is holding a conference on Tuesday and Wednesday to determine how to publicly report more information on children who die in government care.

"It's a small baby step in the right direction," says Sherman, but says prevention of the deaths isn't part of the discussion.

Alberta's chief medical examiner said on Tuesday that the system was too disconnected when it comes to determining why and how children die in government care.

Dr. Anny Sauvageau said her office needs a broader mandate to examine not only the manner of death, but to propose ways to prevent similar tragedies.

With files from The Canadian Press

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/07/02/trudeau-touches-off-firestorm-after-forgetting-alberta-in-canada-day-shout-out.html
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