Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Alberta Child and Youth Services Minister Allows Mom To Speak of Her Deceased Daughter

To ensure you read the latest version of this post, please visit http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com as this post may have been modified since being sent out.

The following Announcement was sent out by Velvet Martin, the mother of Samantha Lauren Martin who has been deceased as the result of neglect and abuse in foster care.

March 1, 2010 Announcement: Samantha Lauren Martin

The publication ban that is statutorily set by the Director for children who
have received government support in Alberta, Canada is considered waived with
regards to Samantha Lauren Martin. On February 24th 2010, the Executive
Assistant to Child & Youth Services' Minister, Yvonne Fritz, Ms. Margaret
Molenkamp, verbally relayed that no ban is in place and that I am free to speak
of my daughter. To ensure factual accuracy, I returned a follow-up letter to
both the Minister as well as to Premier Ed Stelmach (as below). The Director
chose not to respond within a reasonable time allowance, thus, the Government
ban is deemed legally waived by the Director. I will openly discuss details
relating to my daughter, Samantha Lauren Martin.

December 3rd 2009 marks the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities table in the House of Commons.

December 3rd is also a date of significance in the Province of Alberta, Canada.
The life and circumstances surrounding Samantha Lauren Martin, a child with a
rare chromosome disorder, *Tetrasomy 18p, led her mother, Velvet Martin, to
challenge archaic laws inhibiting the rights of persons with disability & their
families. Persistence resulted in the establishment of:

"Samantha's Law"

Amendment to the Alberta FSCD (Family Support for Children with Disabilities)
Act, effective December 2006:


Section 2-3, Manual Amendments: Policy and Procedures in Family Centred
Supports and Services:

"The Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program to have separate
legislation from that of child protection services."

In Celebration of the Importance of Life & Loving Memory of:

Samantha Lauren Martin, June 4, 1993 - December 3, 2006.

Many recommendations were posed to Ministry regards to discerning the two
groups. However, it is with great sadness that I relay, it was not until my
child's death that Amendment was at last the catalyst to change in Alberta.
Samantha passed on December 3rd 2006 and FSCD legislation was effected
retroactive December 2006.

While I appreciate that the Ministry refers to our history as "a learning
experience" for them. For us, the absence of our child will forever hold an
empty space in our hearts and lives. The sole consolation that we may take is
the hope that archaic perspectives towards individuals with disability may
begin to change and with this - "Samantha's Law" - other loving families, their
children and constitutional rights will better protected in the future.

Often, laws have the ability to set precedence and be instituted in
neighbouring jurisdiction... This is our greatest hope for all: Recognition
that our daughter's life held significance as she continues to live on by
aiding others in need.


Velvet Martin


----- Original Message -----
From: Martin Family
To: Minister Yvonne Fritz
Cc: Margaret Molenkamp
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:46 PM
Subject: Samantha Lauren Martin

February 24, 2010

Honourable Yvonne Fritz,
Minister of Children and Youth Services
Member of Executive Council
Executive Branch
228 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

Dear Minister Fritz,

To further today's telephone conversation with the Offices of the Premier and
Ministry of Children's Services: The Office of the Premier referred back to
the Child & Youth Ministry; although on February 10th, the Ministry referred to
an Information Officer, Bob Arsenault, who indicated that response should be
achieved through the Premier.
It is most challenging to effect answers when Senior Personnel within the
Government do not establish appropriate communication protocol. Upon
consultation with Margaret Molenkamp, Executive Assistant, I was informed that
I may speak freely of my daughter, Samantha Martin. Thus, I will consider it
accurate that the Publication Ban has been waived if I do not hear otherwise
from the Director within 3 days. Samantha Martin resided within a foster
establishment strictly as a means to access funding & services (as directed by
Representatives of the Ministry) and did not - at any time - fit the mandate of
an individual in need of "Child Welfare" defined by the Government of Alberta;
so the decision to waive the ban is appropriate.

There remain 3 additional factors, however, that must be reviewed and responded
to directly by Minister Fritz:

1/ The Director is responsible for the conduct of its employees. Therefore, the
Minister is held responsible for its employees' failure to inform medical
personnel and pursue needed intervention. The foster mother (name removed) and
caseworker (name removed) - for treatment of conditions that prompted Samantha
Martin's health collapse. Employees' behaviours need be consequenced
appropriately and their ability to harm others eradicated.

Grievances before the Government of Alberta for the negligent treatment of our
daughter, Samantha Martin, are not allegations, but factually based on evidence
backed by hundreds of documents from medical and educational facilities. The
Fatality Inquiry, we are informed, will not and cannot impose conditions of
blame; thus, Justice is averted. *Who will take responsibility for the
negligent actions that Samantha Martin suffered? Only the Government, acting on
behalf of the Child can effect Justice.

*A powerful message must be relayed that zero tolerance will exist regards to
negligence surrounding a child's care. Evasion of responsibility is completely

2/ Alberta Justice, Government-appointed solicitor (name removed) has proved
unable to impartially present the case of Samantha Martin within the scope of a
Public Fatality Inquiry. A lawyer, acting as an employee of the Ministry, is
essentially self-examining its own wrong-doing and unable to respond freely
from bias. Furthermore,(name removed) personal feelings towards individuals
with developmental disability are both archaic and ethically unconstitutional:
(Name removed) erroneously views persons with developmental delay as
necessarily "suffering". To diminish a person, equating worthiness of life
based upon preconceived notions of developmental ability is a serious breach of
conduct. Reference to a child as "It" is a deplorable display that requires

3/ Though I have continuously devoted time and efforts to the Ministry
assisting with internal review and strategic recommendations for policy
amendment - which have been incorporated into legislation - no recognition
follows. No apology, nor offer of restitution from the Government of Alberta.
Not even a tribute for our daughter's life... " We, the victims, are left with
unanswered questions. And, Samantha without a life. Samantha is deserving of a
commemorative marker in her community where those who loved her may honour the
significant impact of her existence. Implementation of the F.S.C.D. Amendment
whereby children with disabilities shall be viewed distinctly from those
individuals requiring protective services, I recommend, should be referred to
in Legislation as "Samantha's Law".


Velvet Martin

cc: Margaret Molenkamp
Premier Ed Stelmach via facsimile


(\ -- /)
( \()/ )

Velvet Martin,
Administrator for Tetrasomy 18p Canada

"Samantha's Syndrome"

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