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Family wants answers after infant dies in care

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on Fri, 07/13/2012 - 12:17


Demonstrators take aim at children’s aid societies

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life Staff

Marjorie Beaudry has a lot of questions after her four-month-old grandson died earlier this month while briefly under the care of foster parents.

“What we’re saying is ... why did he die? How did he die?” Beaudry asked, speaking at a rally in downtown Sudbury July 11.

The rally was held in front of the provincial government building at 159 Cedar St. It was organized by the Ontario Coalition for Accountability, a group fighting to broaden the umbrella of provincial government and provincial government-affiliated organizations, including children’s aid societies, that can be investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman.

Beaudry’s grandchild was born prematurely, weighing just one pound. The baby’s parents are from Wikwemikong, and have four other young children.

Marjorie Beaudry (centre), whose four-month-old grandson, Malachi, died two days after going into temporary foster care, wants answers as to why the infant, which was born premature, passed away. Beaudry joined demonstrators with the Ontario Coalition for Accountability on July 11. She is flanked by family friends Doreen Trudeau (left) and Natalie Neganegijig (right). Photo by Marg Seregelyi.

She said her daughter and son-in-law recently moved to Greater Sudbury after they were kicked off the reserve because some band members suspected the couple of being drug distributors.

Beaudry said neither of them have ever been convicted of a drug-related offence.


Because they were unable to find housing right away, the family of six had been temporarily staying in a motel room.

Due to their situation, the family was approached by the Children’s Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin (CAS) to place the baby in foster care when he was ready to be released from hospital, Beaudry said.

CAS could neither confirm nor deny this claim as it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

“The CAS said ‘You can’t accommodate the baby — another child in that room is not acceptable,’” Beaudry said. “They coerced her to sign a three-month custody agreement. Very reluctantly, they signed it.”

The baby was released from hospital into the care of foster parents on July 2. However, on July 4, the baby was brought to Health Sciences North, where he was pronounced dead.

His death is now under investigation by Greater Sudbury Police and the coroner’s office.

Beaudry said her daughter is “devastated” by her youngest child’s death.

Posted by Arron Pickard


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Marvin Ganteaume wants the impossible.

"We want the Children's Aid Society to give back our son. That's what we want. Our son back," he said at a rally on Wednesday outside the provincial government building on Cedar Street.

Ganteaume's son, Malachi was four-months-old when he died in early July, days after being placed in foster care.

The infant was born prematurely and weighed only one pound.

According to his father, Malachi was taken to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, where he stayed for about three months before transferring to Sudbury's Health Sciences North.

"He had lung problems, brain problems and an eye problem," Ganteaume said, adding that doctors said the infant was healthy enough to go back to Sudbury.

According to the father, it was around this time that the Children's Aid Society of the District of Sudbury and Manitoulin contacted Leslie Beaudry, the child's mother, who had four other children - two sets of twins - under the age of four.

The family had been living in Wikwemikong, but were forced to move to Sudbury, where they had trouble finding housing and were staying in a motel room. Beaudry hesitantly agreed to give her baby boy to a temporary foster family.

"We were informed that all of his medical needs would be met," Ganteaume said.

The infant was released from hospital in early July and went to a foster family. On July 3, Malachi was taken to Sick Kids for an appointment, which the mother also attended.

"Mommy was concerned for his health and well being. She realized he wasn't looking well," Ganteaume said, adding that, around 6 a.m. the next day, the foster family called the hospital with concerns that the baby wasn't eating. They were told that he was probably tired from the trip to Toronto, but ended up rushing the child to the hospital later in the day. Around noon, the infant's parents were asked to come to the hospital. Around 3 p.m., they were told that he had died.

"Mommy and I were distraught. We started asking questions right away," he said.

These questions fuelled Wednesday's rally.

"We're hoping to get justice. We want someone to be accountable for our child's death," Ganteaume said.

The infant's death is now being investigated by the coroner's office, which could take four to six months. The Greater Sudbury Police are helping the coroner in the investigation and the Children's Aid Society are conducting an separate investigation.

Colette Prevost, executive director of the Manitoulin and Sudbury District CAS, said the agency can't comment on the matter.

"The matter ... is under investigation, so we're not in a position to comment, but we're aware of the rally," Prevost said.

The rally, which attracted dozens of participants - many from First Nations communities - was partly organized by the Ontario Coalition for Accountability. The coalition is fighting to allow the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate children's aid societies.

"Right now, (Ontario) is the only province in Canada that doesn't allow our ombudsman to investigate Children's aid Societies," said Tabatha Haskett, of the coalition. "We're here today in memory of a child that just recently died while in the care of the CAS."

Like the family, Haskett has many questions.

"We want answers ... we feel the family's in limbo at this time, because we don't have the coroner's report. We don't have any reports from anybody. We want them to get the closure they desperately need. They need to know what happened to their child," she said.