08/27/2015 12:31 EDT | Updated 08/27/2015 12:59 EDT

Every Alberta Foster Child Death, Injury To Be Investigated: Minister

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CALGARY — Alberta's human services minister says the province will review every death or serious injury to a child in provincial care or receiving protective services.

Irfan Sabir said Wednesday that the ministry will have an independent investigation of every death and injury.

Right now, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate only investigates a handful of deaths, based on specific criteria.

Sabir's promise comes after five children have died in provincial care or receiving protective services in the past seven weeks.

In the past year, 33 children have died under provincial supervision and 11 were seriously injured; the average number of child deaths since 2008 is 23.

"When a child dies in our care, it's a terrible tragedy,'' Sabir said. `"We will make sure that we bring in independent oversight so that every death and injury can be investigated.''

An all-party legislative committee decides on funding for the child advocate, not the minister.

Sabir did not give details on how the government plans to review the deaths.

He did say the reviews will be independent, but the ministry hasn't determined whether the child advocate will perform them.

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