Our view: Hole in the safety net allowed Alexandru to die

Why is there no system to track at-risk children when the parents move between jurisdictions?

Alexandru Radita weighed 37 pounds when he died in Alberta in 2013. He was 15 years old.

While Radita’s parents have since both been found guilty of first degree murder – they starved the boy and refused to treat his diabetes – his death could have been prevented, said a B.C. social worker.

Patricia MacDonald wants a system that warns other provinces when children and families jump across internal Canadian boundaries.

Alexandru and his family had lived in B.C., where in 2003 he had been taken into foster care because of his alarming health.

Over a year in foster care, he thrived and received proper medical treatment.

Then, after he was returned to his family, they headed to Alberta. As far as social service agencies were concerned, though, they might as well have dropped off the map.

Until his death, social services in Alberta was essentially unaware that Alexandru Radita existed.

MacDonald wants to create “Alex Alerts” for children who move province to province.

Tracking at-risk kids is a daunting prospect. In a big country with 10 provinces and three territories, there are plenty of opportunities for people to move in search of work, looking for a fresh start.

The dark side of that is that it can be used to escape scrutiny by parents who mistreat or abuse their children.

While there are some protocols for family service agencies, they could be strengthened and regularized across the country.

A system that simply informs social service agencies isn’t just a good idea, it could be a literal lifesaver.

– M.C.

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