Establishment of “Samantha’s Law”, an amendment to the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) Act. 1 Velvet Martin was at the forefront of lobbying for this law, inspired by the death of her daughter Samantha in December 2006. Samantha was born with Tetrasomy 18p (a rare chromosomal disorder), and because of this social workers encouraged Velvet to surrender Samantha to foster care. Velvet was told that this was the best way for Samantha to access supports that were too expensive for her to afford.2 In 2006 Samantha went home to live with here biological parents. When Samantha died unexpectedly just a few months after being back home, Velvet was skeptical that Samantha’s time in foster care had something to do with her death, so she requested a public inquiry.3 The inquiry found that the foster system had ultimately failed Samantha. She was malnourished , and had many gaps in her medical records.4 This heart wrenching experience inspired Velvet to lobby for better services for children with disabilities and their families, resulting in the creation of section 2-3 of FSCD, also known as Samantha’s Law, which was retroactive to December 2006, the month of Samantha’s passing.5 The legislation ensures “that caring families of children with developmental diversity and medical conditions are serviced distinctly from the Child Intervention Model”,6 and that “families must not be required to surrender guardianship, nor coerced into out of home placement of their loved one in effort to gain access to government funding for necessary medical supports and services”.7 In 2012 Velvet won a “Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Service” for her accomplishment.8
1. Ron Unruh, “The Samantha Martin Story,” unpublishedottawa.com, accessed July 18, 2018, https://unpublishedottawa.com/letter/39642/samantha-martin-story.
2. CBC News, “Alberta girl, 13, failed by foster care, inquiry finds,” cbc.ca, accessed July 18, 2018, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-girl-13-failed-by-foster-care-inquiry-finds-1.1133569.
3. Ron Unruh, “The Samantha Martin Story.”
1. CBC News, “Alberta girl.”
1. Ron Unruh, “The Samantha Martin Story.”
1. City of Edmonton, “2012 Mayors Awards,” edmonton.ca, accessed July 18, 2018, https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/recognition_awards/mayors-awards-2012.aspx.