Speed up shift to family care, says B.C. coroner’s jury in death of Cree teen

A coroner’s jury has made 18 recommendations after an inquest into the death of a Cree teen who died in a British Columbia group home.

They include calling on the Ministry of Children and Family Development to speed up a new approach to care, favouring family-based services over residential care by contracted staff.

The body of 17-year-old Traevon Desjarlais was found in the home in Abbotsford, east of Vancouver, four days after he was reported missing in September 2020.

Recommendations out of the inquest, which ruled Desjarlais’ death a suicide, also went to the agencies involved in his care _ Rees Family Services and the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society.

Other recommendations include calls for an increase in qualified Indigenous staff, more cultural awareness, better note taking and a policy ensuring that staff are aware that missing children are to be immediately reported to the police.

Desjarlais’ mother told the jury during the inquest that she knocked on the doors and windows of the home where he was living and was told that his room had been checked.

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