October 08, 2015 - 9:30 AM
VICTORIA - British Columbia's Children's Ministry has rejected a grieving mother's pleas to review the circumstances of her daughter's death because the teen committed suicide 20 hours after her 19th birthday and had legally become an adult.
Lisa Fraser said Wednesday at the legislature in Victoria that she wants justice for her daughter Carly Fraser and answers about the government care her daughter received in the years before her death.
A witness saw Carly Fraser jump from Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge Dec. 21, 2014, said Fraser.
Her body was never found, but a journal with a final entry about her plans to jump to her death was discovered nearby.
"I'm here because I want justice for Carly," said Fraser, who was flanked by NDP Leader John Horgan and Kathy Corrigan, Burnaby-Deer Lake's legislative representative. "I want the system to change. I want to know what happened and why."
B.C.'s independent Representative for Children and Youth, family support groups and the NDP have consistently called on the government to review social-service policies that effectively drop youths from government care when they turn 19.
Carly Fraser died 20 hours and 35 minutes after turning 19.
"I'd like a review," said Fraser. "I want answers to how the decisions were made, who made them, why they were made and why they wouldn't listen to anything I said."
Fraser said she signed a voluntary care agreement with the ministry in October 2011 when her daughter was 15 years old. Fraser said home life was tough because she was depressed and her daughter was abusing drugs and alcohol and running away.
After a year in a Burnaby group home, the ministry moved her daughter into a basement suite despite her mother's protests, and in the following weeks her daughter was sexually assaulted twice and quit school and her job, said Fraser.
Fraser said the ministry didn't answer her constant pleas for more services for her daughter.
She said her daughter was placed in psychiatric care five times, was put on suicide watch and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
"She wanted to die," said Fraser. "She didn't trust anyone."
Fraser said her request for a ministry director's review of her daughter's death was rejected in August because officials said Carly died when she was 19.
An Aug. 15 letter to Fraser from B.C.'s deputy director of child welfare said that because Carly Fraser was "19 years old at the time of her death she was no longer considered a 'child' or 'youth' under the Child, Family and Community Services Act."
Horgan criticized the letter.
"You can't learn from the failures of the system if you are not going to review the case," he said.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015