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Government failed 14-year-old girl

BC's children's watchdog says the province's child protection system suffered a virtual collapse in the tragic life of a 14-year-old First Nations girl who hung herself in her grandparents' yard.

The girl died by suicide in May 2011 after a lifetime of involvement with various government ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Children's representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has released a report that says the teen was invisible to the agencies who could have helped her.

Turpel-Lafond says the girl was beaten frequently by her mentally ill mother, who heard voices that told her to hit her child, and the teen's own mental health issues caused her to act out at school and harm herself.

The report says that at the time of her death, the girl was in emotional distress and pain due to abscesses in her mouth.

Turpel-Lafond calls on the BC and federal governments to work with First Nations leaders to improve services for children and families in First Nations communities.

The Canadian Press

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