Mother of girl who died under province's care learned of death over social media

The mother of a 16-year-old girl who died while in the care of the province of Nova Scotia says she found out about her daughter’s death over social media.

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“She was a beautiful, sweet girl. She loved everybody,” said the girl’s mother, who CTV News is calling Amy.

CTV News is not identifying the mother or the victim, as the girl was under the care of the province.

The girl lived in a group home for girls under 18. She was in a private residence and not at the group home when she died.

Amy says she first heard from her daughter's social worker on Tuesday afternoon.

“I thought it was horrible that somebody's child could die and nobody would notify her parents,” said Amy.

The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services says it's up to police to make notifications of a death.

“It would be our understanding that (police) would respond to the family,” said Kelly Regan, acting Minister of Community Services. “After that, the department would in fact reach out.”

Halifax Regional Police say they're responsible for notifying the child's legal guardian – in this case, the province. After that, they would assist in notifying other family if requested.

Amy says she and her daughter were in regular contact before she died. She says the 16-year-old fell in with a bad crowd several years ago, and started having trouble at home and school.

“It just continuously got worse and worse to the point that she wasn't going to classes, I was having meetings at the school,” said Amy.

Police officers at the scene told CTV News the girl died of a suspected drug overdose. The cause has not been confirmed.

The girl's family thought she could make a fresh start with her grandmother in Nova Scotia. But after she went missing in 2014, she was taken into care of the province.

The girl's mother believes her daughter was struggling with mental health and drug issues. Now as she plans her daughter's funeral, Amy is calling for change.

“We should have been notified before it was all over social media and everything. I know that stuff travels fast because of the kids and stuff, but I mean realistically someone should have called us,” said Amy.

She says this is something no family should have to go through.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.


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