Ontario's chief coroner says he hopes to release a report this summer. Originally, the review was intended to review 11 cases, but Dr. Dirk Huyer said last week they've added one more for a total of 12 children, who passed away in care. They include Grassy Narrows member Azraya Kokopenace.
Huyer has been working with a panel of experts on a review of how the cases were handled. The chief coroner said Friday the panelists had met. They'd gone over the material provided. They'd prepared a report, and they hoped to finalize their report for release this summer.
Kokopenace was 14, when she passed away suddenly in the woods across from Kenora's hospital in 2016. The teen was supposed to be in the care of family services, when she passed away.
The chief coroner's review started last fall. Legal counsel for the Kokopenace family noted the review by the chief coroner doesn't preclude an inquest at a future date.
Staff at Kenora's hospital have requested additional resources to deal with youth in crisis, saying they see -- on average -- one a day. While the youth are meant to be transferred to Thunder Bay, staff say the stabilization unit in Thunder Bay handled about 300 patients a year, and their unit is often full, which can lead to delays for youth in crisis in Kenora.
Last fall, the ministry said it was implementing a blueprint for a new system of residential services. The ministry added it was also revisiting restrictions on child detention.
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