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Child and Youth Advocate releases update on investigative reviews into child deaths and serious injuries

Investigative reviews of 48 young people who passed away or were seriously injured were completed in 2023–2024

April 9, 2024

Edmonton, Alberta

Terri Pelton, provincial Child and Youth Advocate, has provided an update to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on her office’s investigative reviews spanning from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024.

Reviews were completed and publicly released for 47 young people who were receiving child intervention services at the time of or within two years of their death, and for one young person who was receiving child intervention services when they were seriously injured. Investigative reviews for an additional 15 young people are on hold due to police investigations and court proceedings.

Among the 47 young people who passed away, 35 were Indigenous.

“More must be done to provide Indigenous young people with the supports they need and to help them stay connected with their families, communities, and cultures,” said Pelton.

One of the most frequent causes of death among those who passed away was drug toxicity, with several children beginning substance use at very young ages. For instance, Jonah and Tara, who passed away at ages 17 and 16 respectively from fentanyl and methamphetamine toxicity, both began using substances at age 12.

“It’s deeply concerning to see children as young as 12 using substances, and sadly, we’ve seen even younger in the past,” said Pelton. “When children and families are struggling, it’s crucial they receive early support and care so we can reduce the number of lives lost to this crisis.”

The findings of the 48 individual investigative reviews will inform a consolidated investigative review report, which will make recommendations to government to improve the circumstances of young people in similar situations. The Advocate anticipates the consolidated investigative report will be released in the Fall of 2024.

The individual investigative reviews for each of the young people can be found here:


The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Alberta Legislature. It represents the rights, interests, and viewpoints of children and youth receiving designated government services.

Media inquiries:

Stephanie Shantz
Manager, Communications
Office of the Child and Youth Advocate



Investigations Summary for April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024

83 total notifications of death and serious injury received in 2023–2024

  • Notifications were received for 68 young people who passed away and 15 who had been seriously injured
  • Investigative reviews for notifications received are completed and publicly released within one year of notification of the young person’s serious injury or death

Investigative reviews for 48 young people completed and publicly released in 2023–2024

  • 47 deaths; one serious injury
  • 35 out of the 47 young people who passed away were Indigenous
  • At the time of their passing or serious injury, 12 of the young people were in care, 20 were receiving child intervention services, and 16 had received services within the previous two years
Placement (for those in care or receiving services)
Parental care 11
Independent Living 8
Kinship care 4
Foster care 3
Group care 2
Supported Independent Living 2
Campus-Based Care 1
In Care of the Director-Whereabouts Known 1
Total 32


Age Groups
0-5 years old 11
6-11 years old 7
12-17 years old 17
18+ years old 13
Total 48

Manner of Death
Accidental 20 (10 drug and alcohol)
Suicide 6
Medical 8
Undetermined 4
Victim of Violence 3
Pending 6
Total 47
1 serious injury pending
Date published: 09-Apr-2024 View All News