The mother of Serenity, a four-year-old girl who died of horrific injuries after being placed in kinship care on a central Alberta reserve, hopes her daughter’s death ushers in new protections for vulnerable children.
On Tuesday, the woman will sit in the gallery of the Alberta legislature as Calgary MLA Mike Ellis attempts to resurrect Bill 216, also known as Serenity’s Law. She cannot be identified under provincial child welfare legislation so as not to identify her other children.
Bill 216 would require adults to report to police any child who needs intervention, under the threat of six months in jail or a $10,000 fine. It will be introduced into the legislature after question period on Tuesday afternoon, Ellis confirmed.
The law would have helped save her daughter’s life, she said.
“I’m really, really hoping and crossing my fingers that it goes for the best and that this law comes out, because children deserve a chance in life,” Serenity’s mother said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.
The private members bill, which would alter the Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act, was first introduced by Ellis last December.
The bill never came up for debate.
Even though it was stonewalled last year, Serenity’s mother said she remains hopeful the bill will be passed into law.
“It took three years just to get my daughter’s autopsy done so I don’t think whoever is in charge is too interested in passing this law and it just makes me feel like they don’t care about the children here in Alberta, and they should,” she said.
“I’m hopeful, but I’ve been let down before, and so have my children.”
Serenity lived with relatives in a kinship care placement on a central Alberta reserve. Despite repeated reports of abuse, full legal guardianship of Serenity and her two siblings had been awarded to her kinship caregivers, before she was admitted to hospital in September 2014.
The girl was suffering from catastrophic injuries, including a fractured skull and starvation.
She was hypothermic. There were signs of sexual abuse. She died four days later, on Sept. 27, 2014.
Her mother gained custody of her other two children after Serenity’s death.
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