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In loving memory of Samantha Martin Child Protection Reform Warrior (Canada)

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Lukes Dad's picture
on Sun, 02/12/2012 - 10:57
In Loving Memory of Samantha Martin Who Died Under Ministry Direction
 

In Loving Memory of Samantha Martin Who Died Under Ministry Direction
With a song by Avril Lavigne a nicely laid out video tribute in Celebration of the Importance of Life & Loving Memory of a young girl named Samantha Lauren Martin shows you her brief life as well as the sought after objective of birth parents who did not have her in their home most of her life and for whom they now seek inquiry and closure. Her death inspired Samantha's Law.

Her parents are John and Velvet Martin. On Jan. 17, 2011 they finally obtained 'a fatality inquiry' into the death of their severely disabled 13-year-old daughter Samantha who died unexpectedly. It is happening this morning. (Samantha Martin Public Fatality Inquiry / Court reconvenes today, Friday, March 18th at 9:30 am. Edmonton Provincial Court, Room 449, Law Courts, 1A Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, AB T5J 0R2)

You will find her interesting and heart-rending story at various internet sites. Her death in Dec. 2006, of cardiac arrest, was not while in foster care, but rather, six months after she had moved back into her parents' home in St. Albert, Alberta., following more than a decade in foster care. Samantha had a rare genetic disorder called Tetrasomy 18p, which left her mentally and physically disabled. Velvet has testified that shortly after Samantha was born it was apparent that she was severely disabled and social workers urged the Martins to give their child into foster care. They signed a voluntary "permanent guardianship agreement" because they were persuaded that Samantha would have free and full access to the best programs and services which the parents would have to pay for themselves if they kept her.

While they could have cancelled this agreement with 10-day notice, they were convinced that Samantha would not then receive all that she needed. She lived for almost a decade in a foster home that specialized in children with disabilities not far from St. Albert. There was a reorganization of children's services in 2005 and their file was transferred to another office, from which the Martins were told that the permanent guardian agreement was no longer in effect, that it had been abolished. No one had ever told them or they could have had Samantha home much sooner.

When finally she returned to her parents' home it was with high hopes that she could live a happy and normal life and that her parents could capably care for her. Her death by cardiac arrest was not expected. However, John and Velvet have believed that the time Samantha spent in foster care contributed to her death, claiming that she was mistreated. They know that Samantha's school had several “incident reports.” The Martins believe that the foster caregivers ignored concerns from the school that Samantha was having frequent tiny seizures. Further, they learned that the foster care facility had been investigated with respect to their daughter during her stay there. This is part of the testimony now. The Martins also alleged that Samantha's caseworker kept records that were skeletal and inadequate. An internal review in 2007 concluded that there was no connection between her tragic death and the foster care system. Therefore no criminal charges were laid.

Notwithstanding that, Velvet Martin pressed for a public inquiry which does not attribute blame but does examine the circumstances of the death in order to determine whether there are lessons to be learned to avert future similar tragedies. The Martins obtained this fatality inquiry and it is expected to last three weeks.

And one more major item. Velvet Martin has championed a new law known as Samantha's Law, a Canadian child protection law. The life and circumstances surrounding Samantha Lauren Martin, a child with a rare chromosome disorder, Tetrasomy 18p & Autism led her mother, Velvet Martin, to challenge archaic laws inhibiting the rights of persons with disability and their families. Specifically, no loving family of a child with developmental or medical diversity should be coerced into relinquishing custody - whether temporary or permanent - in effort to secure Government funding for required medical and therapeutic services! On December 3 2009 (the same date marks the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities being tabled in the House of Commons of Canada), Velvet Martin's persistence resulted in the establishment of "Samantha's Law." The Amendment to the Alberta Family Support for Children with Disabilities Act, became effective retroactive to December 2006. Section 2-3, Manual Amendments: Policy and Procedures in Family Centred Supports and Services: "The Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program to have separate legislation from that of child protection services.

Toronto Sun Story

http://ronunruhgps.blogspot.com/2011/03/samantha-lauren-martin-478.html

Comments

Lukes Dad's picture

I think the photograph well portrays the fact that she was not medically fragile, nor severely cognitively repressed. Simply a little girl who happened to have a developmental delay; but a beautiful little soul (Samantha's Mum).

Samantha left behind the legacy of "Samantha's Law." Samantha and her mum, both Child Protection Reform heroes.

Samantha's Law
Edmonton, Alberta
Samantha's Law is a Canadian child protection law. The life and circumstances surrounding Samantha Lauren Martin, a child with a rare chromosome disorder, Tetrasomy 18p, led her mother, Velvet Martin, to challenge archaic laws inhibiting the rights of persons with disability and their families. On December 3 2009 (the same date marks the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities being tabled in the House of Commons of Canada), Velvet Martin's persistence resulted in the establishment of "Samantha's Law." The Amendment to the Alberta Family Support for Children with Disabilities Act, became effective retroactive to December 2006. Section 2-3, Manual Amendments: Policy and Procedures in Family Centred Supports and Services: "The Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program to have separate legislation from that of child protection services."

Lukes Dad's picture

A fatality inquiry into the death of a young girl details a system that simply failed to act and now the girl’s mother wants changes.

Velvet Martin says she was told her daughter would have severe disabilities when she was born in 1993 and that in order to get the best supports she should be in government care.

Martin trusted that decision and her daughter Samantha was put into foster care.

The Martins had regular visits and eventually they as well as school officials started documenting injuries Samantha was suffering.

The wounds ranged from bumps and bruises to fractures and bone breaks. The girl was also well underweight and hovered around 50 pounds between age 10 and 13.

School officials were growing concerned Samantha was suffering seizures.

That’s when Martin began the fight to get Samantha back home. Just months after that happened in 2006, she died.

“We trusted and that is something that I will always regret,” said Martin.

She fought for years to have a fatality inquiry performed.

When that finally happened the judge heard testimony teachers noticed the foster parents’ biological child’s lunches were more balanced. When the school raised the issue, the foster mother’s response was to tell the school to “fill Samantha up with water.”

Heath records showed a period of 3 years where Samantha was not seen by a pediatrician or family doctor despite suspected seizures. Caseworkers didn’t meet with the child for 14 months.

“There’s a lot of complexities when it comes to child protection but what this fatality report does is it shows a failure at the most basic of levels,” said NDP MLA Rachel Notley. “Nutrition and health care and following up when the teacher calls to say I think there’s something wrong.”
The inquiry contains recommendations including:

  • Ensuring caseworkers have accurate and up to date information
  • Ensuring children are actually receiving annual medical checkups
  • When observations about injuries are made by reliable sources that a medical examination is performed
  • Ensuring caseworkers have a reasonable case load

“Beyond policy there needs to be repercussions when policy is not adhered to. And government employees must not be above the law. They must be accountable to the law just like everybody else,” said Martin in reaction to the recommendations.

“It’s hoops that people are jumping through and children don’t have time to wait, they end up dying,” she adds.

On Friday Human Services Minsiter Dave Hancock had yet to read the inquiry’s recommendations. His press secretary Craig Loewen said considerations will be taken.

“Of course, we do take the recommendations and results of these inquiries very seriously so we will be taking a look at them very shortly here and seeing what changes we can make,” he said.

No timeline has been given for when those changes would be made but Loewen said there have been several changes to the system since Samantha died so the recommendations could be repetitive.

While Martin hopes changes are made, she said there’s one thing she wouldn’t change.

“I’m very happy to have been Samantha’s Mom. I would do it all over again, as hard as it has been. But I would do it all over again.”

 
Lukes Dad's picture

Dear Mr. Hancock,

I am beginning my long apprenticeship in the suffering of the little ones.

Other peoples’ little ones.

I am looking at a YouTube video of Samantha Martin.

Why was this child abused in this way without any sort of help provided?

Why was she in a body cast and with broken limbs as depicted in this video?

Why do we not have the preliminary information of what happened to Samantha before the fatality report information?

Has her files been investigated by a forensic pathologist for child abuse?

Where are her medical records?

What is Samantha’s story before the fatality report begins?
This is what I am interested in.

How the social services system under the unleadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta failed this child.

I

I am also looking at the fatality report that I have already read briefly and will review again along with what I can find out about Samantha’s life to see how a child who could not speak, who was so vulnerable died.

I want to know how Samantha lived and died and I will work on this story first.

Do you know how Samantha died?

Was it from our lack of action as citizens?

Was it from the overload of work given to our doctors, nurses and social workers?

Was it from the lack of effort by our politicians?

I would say it has to be the last choice that speaks to me as a mother.

Because of our politicians who have been tenured by us—the citizens---children like Samantha die.

Where are the consequences in this case?

What have you as a department learned?

When will there be supports and services for our children?

And finally, how will you all bear these deaths of our most helpless citizens---- on your souls?

Sincerely,

Julie Ali

The fatality report is here:

http://justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/fatality/Documents/fatality-report-Martin.pdf

What can be done?

1) Write to the government

2) Become web activists

3) Mother to mother and father to father form coalitions. If the current government will not save our children we will vote them out.

4) Educate yourselves. Learn the work of citizenship and fight for democratic rule and not the oil industry state.

Watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmz_bujDPDk

An opposition party’s response:

http://albertandp.ca/news/details/notley_fatality_report_highlights_basic_shortcomings_with_resources_at_chil

« news overview | Subscribe to the NDP News Feed

Notley: fatality report highlights basic shortcomings with resources at Child and Youth Services

For immediate release | October 19, 2012

EDMONTON— Alberta’s NDP Children and Youth critic, Rachel Notley, hopes that the Fatality Inquiry report into Samantha Martin’s death is used to improve the system and will not be quietly swept under the rug by the PC government. Notley says the Public Fatality Inquiry into Samantha Martin’s death highlights the need for more resources to be put into the Ministry.

“Albertans care about the children in this province. When the province is the parent, we must be trustworthy,” said Notley.

“Child protection can be very challenging and complex but this report highlights repeated failures in the most basic of responsibilities,” said Notley. “This government failed to keep Samantha well fed and healthy and repeatedly ignored warnings about that from the most credible of community sources.”

The Public Inquiry into Samantha Martin’s death draws attention to a number of failures within Children’s Services. It outlines large gaps in Samantha’s medical care, along with a failure of her social workers to properly follow up on the medical care as well as basic nutritional concerns.

In addition, the report notes shortcoming on special needs expertise.

“We have long been concerned that our foster care system fails when it comes to providing the support and skill necessary to provide the greatest opportunities to children with disabilities who are in care. These are our most vulnerable citizens yet we appear to be failing them on a systemic level” said Notley.

My response?

Our politicians work for themselves and for big oil.

It is time to return to democracy back to the people.

Begin now. Donate money to opposition parties.

Write on blogs.

Write to city councillors, MLAs and M.P.s

We do not want to become China.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

these grave diggers of politicians

here is the day

that has just begun its work

of love

the snow peels off the blanket

of cold

and the whir of the helicopter blades

of the sun begins

and children fly down the small breast hill

what are your riches?

do you have your children by your side?

are their worlds the same as yours?

or do you take the road to

where the endless pool of assets collect and grow?

at the marsh the reeds glow like coins

the firs thin their green claws of snow

and the mist tiptoes over the skyscrapers that grow

I have no money that I can prove

my status or claims to wealth

and I do not herd with the sheep

that are being kept in pens by our governments

but I do have a coin that I hold tight in my hand

that I rub like a talisman for the future

it is the small coin of hope

that we will be free of the grave diggers soon

they are making tarsands pits for our children

filled with their toxic components

and smoke from coal burning adds to the

tarsands pollutants but they seem so far away

from my land where the children drop to the bottom

on their sleds and where the marsh shrugs off its

dump of snow and begins again the work of love

that is nowhere about except in the home where we each live

here is a family just like yours

and we grope to a future in Canada

our leaders have all become aliens and our

democracy is in shambles but we still endure

despite their lies and bullying we have persisted

to raise our children we watch the politicians like the enemies

that they have become and we understand that we must wait

to vote them out but we watch them every day to see what they will do next

to destroy the future for our children

we see them lay their traps and discord that aims

to divide the peoples of Canada and we do not move

from the places we have made our homes we simply wait

with patience for their reign of indulgence and arrogance to end

one day I will look up from my work and see the marsh has entered spring

the dogwoods will be green again and the land will be free of them who now

hold us silent and in our tombs these grave diggers of politicians and when they leave

we will be reborn out of the graves where we have been placed

the bully boys will be gone and democracy will be alive again

then we will end these trade agreements with China and the P3 projects

that benefit their sponsors we will ensure that the work that is done in our

cities is necessary and not make work projects to add to urban sprawl and we

will make sure that our public purse is not misused for holidays to India where a private

car is taken to ensure the Harper King can travel like the monarch that he assumes himself to be

then we will be free of these politicians of a past era and begin the future with love and kindness

Posted by Julie Ali at 2:19 PM No comments:

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Labels: poetry, Politics, We live in Russia in Alberta, We live in Russia in Canada

Julie Ali