Since 1997, the Advocate for Children and Youth has conducted independent investigations into the deaths of children and youth in receipt of services from the Government of Saskatchewan. The Advocate office does not investigate or determine criminal liability when a child or youth dies or is critically injured while in care or custody. Rather, The Advocate for Children and Youth Act grants us a limited legislative manadate to receive, review and investigate services to a child or to a group of children by any ministry, agency or publicly-funded health entity.
Currently, the Advocate Office reviews, and when appropriate, investigates when children and youth die while receiving direct or delegated services or have received services from the Ministry of Social Services within 12 months of his or her death and/or the Ministry of Justice, Corrections and Policing Division within one month of his or her death.
Independent child death investigations comprise the majority of investigatons referred to and conducted by our Office.
The Advocate office also investigates when children and youth suffer critical injuries while receiving direct or delegated services or have received services from the Ministry of Social Services within 12 months of his or her critical injury and/or the Ministry of Justice, Corrections and Policing Division within one month of his or her critical injury.
Critical injury investigations may be conducted in a multi-disciplinary manner and many of the themes found in these investigations parallel the themes that have been found in child death investigations. A “critical injury” is defined by the Advocate office as being an incident where the injury sustained by the child or youth necessitates his or her hospitalization and major medical treatment. Additionally, the Advocate may investigate an attempted suicide as a critical injury, regardless of whether hospitalization or major medical treatment was required.
Depending on the circumstances, the Advocate office may also respond to a child death or critical injury notification by providing advocacy services for the injured child and/or any children and youth in living in care or custody of the home or facility at the time of another child's death or critical injury.