PAPA People Assisting Parents Association © 2007

Sullivan, Delonna 1.jpg
A victim of collateral damage: Delonna Sullivan died on April 11, six days after being placed in foster care.

Edmonton mother Jamie Sullivan went public after her infant Delonna Sullivan died in care on 11 April 2011

Jamie Sullivan sought an order to lift publication ban of her identity, which was granted on 13 October 2011.

Nothing is new under the sun, another tragedy of state-sponsored child removal. A 4-month old infant died after 6 days in foster home where many judges consider as a known safe place.

The mother and her child happened to be collateral damage when "child protection" workers and the police entered her residence to remove the children of her roommate. After 30 minutes upon arrival on 5 April 2011, they shifted their focus on her and removed her infant together with other intended targets.

As described by the CBC News article "Alberta judge allows ID of baby who died in care" on 13 October 2011 as Alberta's notoriously restrictive Child, Youth & Family Enhancement Act prohibits the media from identifying her or her daughter. This provincial statute contains provision of publication ban on the identity of children and guardians in child protection cases. The public is kept in the dark. The identity of the family was concealed until an Alberta Court of Queen's Bench judge lifted a publication ban on the identity on 13 October 2011 (Thursday).

"The publication of Delonna Sullivan's name Pursuant to Section 126.2(2)(ii) of the Child Youth & Family Enhancement Act, is hereby granted," Justice M.D. Gates states in an order granted Thursday in Edmonton.

The order was sought by Jamie Sullivan to facilitate her going public effort. Government lawyer Kate Bridget told the judge that the Alberta government took no position (ie. neither consents nor objects to) in the application, which is the shrewdest thing to do in the surrounding circumstance.

Mother denied the Ministry's allegation

An affidavit was sworn after the removal that this mother appears to have a drinking problem and there was "disharmony in the house". Be mindful that these conclusions were drawn after meeting the mother for 15 to 30 minutes on their fateful 5 April encounter. The mother denied that she is alcoholic but admitted that she is a social drinker. She further added that she is no longer living with her roommate whose children are the target of removal and that her child was healthy and well cared for.

It may take 5 months before the results of autopsy are available. Her lawyer Larry Edward McConnell, Q.C. who practiced in Whitecourt (a town 177 km northwest of Edmonton) said that the mother plans to sue the Province. He said that even the RCMP are culpable and the foster mother is to blame. He was shocked that "child protection" workers remove without a court order in a situation where there is no emergency or threat to child safety.

After the removal, the mother and grandmother followed the workers to their office in Leduc (33 km south of Edmonton) for the purpose of fighting for access and to get her back. They were finally given a visit with the child. The despaired mother was gut wrenching to find marks on her child's head. The infant also had diarrhea and dried faeces on her. They asked the foster mother to take her to the hospital but the woman refused.

As common in many deaths of children in government "care", there is an allegation that authorities neglected to inform the mother of her infant's death for several hours. According to McConnell, the child died at 4 p.m., and the mother wasn't notified until 10 p.m. He plans to secure counselling for his two clients (the mother and grandmother), who he describes as shaken and devastated.

Lily Choy, foster mum in Edmonton convicted of manslaughter again of killing a 3-year old foster kid in 2007

In an interview with CBC News, Alberta's Minister of Children and Youth Services Yvonne Fritz refused to comment on this ministry-created tragedy citing confidentiality. Like all children minister across the nation, she would only discuss removal in generality. She said that "child protection" workers will only remove if there is imminent risk to a child. In another interview with CBC, she alleged that this incident has not undermined public confidence in the foster care system.

Rachel Notley, NDP MLA opposition critic, told reporters on 2 June 2011 that the child advocate plays a useless role as the advocate reports to the Minister and the Minister determines the nature of the information the advocate puts forward.

On 6 June 2011, there was a small rally in front of the Alberta Legislature building in Edmonton. One of the speakers was Robert P. Lee, a lawyer from Edmonton, Alberta. Mr. Lee said that he receives calls on a constant basis from people who have been severely damaged by the child welfare system. The system is supposed to help them, not to harm them or kill them.

Ironically, this case proves that "child protection" agency is the largest institutional risk to the safety of children, the integrity of families and the security of a nation.

Jamie Sullivan attended rally in Vancouver 2012
Jamie Sullivan attended a rally with other oppressed parents who have children removed by
child protection agencies across Canada in Downtown Vancouver (August 2012)

Lessons Learnt From This Case

  1. Next to fear and ignorance, secrecy is vital to the success of the "child protection" industry. In Alberta, provincial legislation prohibits publishing the identities of children and guardians in child protection cases. Why? To prevent parents from going public and the media from learning, hence airing details of wrongdoings.

    Bureaucrats and politicians always cite privacy when asked to discuss "child protection" matters and refuse to comment on specifics of individual cases. The latter are what media and families in questions want answers. This tactic avoids embarrassing questions that could get them into hot water. Instead, they often say something in generality that nobody would disagree, such as removal decisions are not made lightly and will only be made when there is immediate risk to children. Former Minister of Children and Family Development in British Columbia Tom Christensen spoke on this tune to the media when asked about the Bayne's case in 2009.

    Privacy is a convenient excuse to evade questions they do not want to answer. In fact, confidentiality is the last thing government will worry about. In British Columbia, Section 96 of CFCSA grants the right to any information in the custody or control of a public body. This enables "child protection" workers to obtain the medical records of all family members at the onset of most investigations without the knowledge, let alone consent, of their "clients". They are fishing for addictive drug, alcohol and mental disorder history. If confidential medical information can be accessed without consent, what privacy will the Ministry respect?

  2. Many Canadians believe that they will not get into trouble with "child protection" workers if they do not abuse their children. This case proves that they are wrong. In their current modus operandi, one needs not be a child abuser or a subject of investigation to attract the attention of this special type of secret police known as "child protection" workers. Your family may fall prey if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Your children may become a pawn to punish you if people who know how to abuse the child removal authority. These people most notably are estranged spouses, hostile in-laws, malicious neighbors, the police, Crown prosecutors (read the "Sister of Templeton Secondary hit list teen removed on June 29, 2009" case for the last two groups). Of course, this is all done under the pretext of child safety and protection.

  3. To those who believe that problems created by state-sponsored child removal can be resolved by requiring a court order prior to removal, the tragic death of this 4-month old infant proves that such naive belief is wrong. This problem cannot be solved without revoking general child removal power granted by child protection legislation. Absolute power to remove children from their families is barbaric, counter productive and redundant in view of other statutes that give authorities to separate abusive parents and vulnerable children based on due process of law and good evidence. As evident by the now renounced residential school, state-sponsored child removal under the pretext of protection is a colonial government invention used to target individuals or groups of people. Our views on the foregoing can be found in our MCFD and Native Indians page. It seriously challenges our safety, human rights and freedom and has no place in a civilized society.

  4. Alberta's Minister of Children and Youth Services Yvonne Fritz made an absurd and outrageous remark that this incident does not undermine public confidence on foster care. What is her proof of this? If atrocity like this does not shatter public confidence, what would? To politicians and bureaucrats, enough is never enough. Kevin Armstrong of CTV said that Alberta has 51 child deaths in the last decade. The Minister's misleading remark aims at downplaying public concern and protecting the child protection industry. In British Columbia, our statistics of child death "in care" are equally, if not more, disgraceful, appalling and scary. Let us tell the government in no uncertain terms that we have no confidence in your child welfare system at all. Furthermore, we, as members of the public, have serious concerns on the corruption and the abuse of power in state-sponsored child removal activities under the pretext of protection, not only in Alberta but all across Canada.

  5. Is there any law in Canada prohibiting alcoholic parents from raising their children? No. Child removal authority allows the government to make law or law-equivalent without going through the proper legislative procedure. Absolute power to remove children is a severe punishment to parents if they fall into a category that bureaucrats consider child abuse. Punitive power that could be exercised without trial, due process of law and good evidence opens government to corruption.

  6. The infant died on 11 April 2011. This shocking news was not aired until 31 May 2011, more than a month later. According to Kevin Armstrong of CTV, this is because the audit of death and major injuries of children in care is only done once a year and details of each cases are not revealed. This means the Alberta government could possibly conceal ministry-created atrocities up to a year depending on when it occurs.

  7. Taxpayers are always an indirect victim who pay for pre-trial settlement, costs and damages of lawsuits resulting from the actions of "child protection" workers. These bureaucrats are protected by their union and indemnified by their employer, namely the government, and will never be held personally liable to damages.

    From a natural justice and taxpayer's perspective, should their personal assets, like their pension, salary, real estate, bank accounts, be held as lien to pay for damages to victims of their torts? There should be legislation obliging the foregoing. If these self-righteous god-like creatures are so confident, as they always assure the court and the public, that removing children is justified, they should not have problem putting their assets as a surety.

  8. Despite what the legislative intent was, child removal authority clearly enables atrocities like this to happen. This case is not the first and won't be the last as long as government has the power to remove children from their families at will. When will parents realize how vulnerable they are when pursued by ruthless and unsparing "child protection" workers? Granting the government such oppressive power is like giving bureaucrats a loaded gun and provides them with a monetary incentive to shoot you. Act before you or your loved one fall prey.


[This page was added on 18 June 2011, last revised on 30 October 2013.]