Five years after foster child death, Mother still fighting for answers

Jeremy Lye
The mother of a child who died after being in foster care five years ago is calling for changes to legislation that puts cases like hers under an automatic publication ban.

Velvet Martin says she is only able to talk publicly about her daughter Samantha's death because she fought to have the ban suspended.

Just days before what would've been Samantha's 18th birthday, Velvet says the David-and-Goliath struggle to find answers, and justice, over her daughter's death continues.
Samantha was born with Tetrasomy 18p, where a child has 47 chromosomes instead of 46.

According to the
Chromosome 18 registry & Research Society, symptoms affecting both physical and mental development vary in severity.

''We were told it was the kindest thing to do, That we had to do so while she was still young and 'cute'.''

''Hence, adopt the child out so that the government doesn't have to pay for the funding of a child with a severe disability.''

Effectively, Velvet and her family had to surrender Samantha to
Children and Youth Services in order to get the medical care she needed.

But Velvet says Samantha didn't get it.

''She suffered seven broken bones including three femur breaks,'' Velvet says.
''I'm fighting for medical reports, reports that were revealed following my daughter's death,'' she says.

''Medical reports, educational reports that three schools in three different towns and cities were each reporting similar concerns to what we were reporting about our daughter being hungry, about her being dirty.''

''It goes on and on,'' she says.

Velvet says around 70% of the approximate 12,000 children in care in Alberta have special needs. (jl,blb)