Foster-care system improved following Abbotsford teen’s 2015 suicide, province says

Alex Gervais was placed in motel by ministry, not checked on by caregiver in 10 days prior to death

Following the suicide of an Abbotsford teen who was in the care of the government in 2015, the province say they have better equipped the Ministry of Children and Family Development to manage the foster system.

The death of Alex Gervais, the 18-year old Métis teen who jumped from the fourth floor window of an Abbotsford’s motel, prompted a 2017 report entitled Broken Promises by B.C.’s child-watchdog, Children and Youth. The report found that Gervais hadn’t been checked on by his caregiver in the 10 days prior to his death.

The province had put up the teen in a Super-8 motel and paid the caregiver $8,000 a month to look after him while a more permanent home was found. He had been staying there for 49 days.

Now, the ministry says it has hired more staff, social workers, and increased compensation for foster parents. They also say they have talked with First Nations across the province in hopes of shrinking the number of Indigenous youths in the system.

The practice of placing displaced youth in motels has been stopped outside of emergency situations.

The ministry erred in never attempted to reunite Gervais with a stepmother in B.C. or his aunt in Quebec, according to the 2017 report. He had been moved through 17 different placements with 23 different social workers.

The ministry claims it has been able to return 91 per cent of children placed in the foster system to their families. These returns are the result of more parenting classes, counselling, and mental health and addiction support.

The 2017 report called for the ministry to provide proper support to youth in the foster system who couldn’t return to their families. It detailed how Gervais suffered from abuse, anxiety, depression and attachment issues.

RELATED: Alex Gervais died alone after years of instability, neglect: Child advocate report

Foster careProvincial Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Walnut Grove’s Shawn Meehan (front) has started another band, Trigger Mafia. This local country rocker has put country on the shelf, and is going hard-core rock with this group, releasing their first single last Friday to radio. It started as a way to pass the time during the COVID lockdown, and evolved. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley musician drives rock revival with COVID twist

Trigger Mafia goes straight from the garage to radio with raw lyrics

Patricia Celan, named Miss Charity seven years ago while a teen living in South Surrey, is now in postgraduate psychiatry training and was recently named Mrs. Canada International 2021. (Contributed photos)
Domestic-violence awareness a focus for former White Rock woman named Mrs. Canada International

Patricia Celan, in postgraduate psychiatry training, earned her first crown in 2013

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Teachers, staff should be included in contact tracing: Surrey Teachers’ Association president

STA says there is also ‘no harm in going even further’ with a mask mandate

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sooke’s Paul Larouche, aka PioneerPauly on YouTube, uses a metal detector in hopes to find gold flakes along his claim of the Sooke River. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read