Calgary Herald: Judge releases recommendations after teen’s fatality inquiry

File photo of Tyla Chipaway.

A provincial court judge has released a series of recommendations stemming from a fatality inquiry into the death of 16-year-old Tyla Chipaway in March 2015, including a call for further training for child intervention caseworkers.

In a report released Wednesday, deputy chief Judge Lillian McLellan’s first recommendation is that information about a child’s background and historic involvement with child protection personnel be shared immediately with the caseworker working with that person, or if a child has moved to another jurisdiction, the file should be immediately accessible there.

Chipaway died when she was run over by a taxi on 16th Avenue N.E. around 3:30 a.m. on March 18, 2015. The report indicates she was walking in and out of traffic before she lay down across the centre westbound travel lane. Taxi driver Stanislaw Maguder fled the scene and was later handed an eight-month sentence for hit and run.

Collision reconstructionist Kenneth Reed told the fatality inquiry that he believed Chipaway had spent some time that evening drinking with a quadriplegic uncle.

“He apparently fell out of his chair and Tyla was trying to flag down a vehicle to help her get him back in his chair,” the report states. “She became drowsy and lay down on the roadway.”

The report indicates that Chipaway possibly had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and cognitive mental-health issues, but no assessment had been completed. McLellan is recommending that children with possible FASD or mental-health issues be identified as early as possible, that they be directed into programming to improve outcomes, and that Children and Youth Services staff, schools and agencies receive training in FASD.

She also calls for child intervention caseworkers dealing with high-risk children to have “extensive training in addiction and mental health issues,” which could involve a worker having a smaller caseload.

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