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The foster family that cared for a boy who later died of neglect in Alberta, even though B.C. officials were aware he was in danger, says not enough has been done to ensure a similar tragedy won’t happen again.

Tracy Brady, whose mother cared for Alexandru Radita for about a year from 2004 to 2005, wants a national alert system that would inform child welfare officials when at-risk children and their families move to different provinces or territories.

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“I hate hearing all the times where the ministry is involved and it takes children to die for things to happen,” said Brady, whose late mother, Vera Boyko, cared for Alex when he was eight years old. “What happened to Alex should never happen to another child. But I’m afraid it will if we don’t have something in place.”

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A fatality inquiry report released last month by a judge in Alberta recommended such an alert information-sharing system between provinces for high-risk children.

Justice Sharon Van de Veen examined Alex’s case and found that a standardized cross-boundary communication might have saved his life and could prevent similar deaths in the future.

Brady, who lives in Maple Ridge, said she recalls, in the years after his death, experts talking about establishing “Alex Alerts” — similar to Amber Alerts that go out when children are abducted — but for at-risk children who move from one jurisdiction to another.

Alex’s death, she said, happened 11 years ago.

“We still don’t have it.”

Alex weighed 37 pounds and was severely malnourished when, in May 2013, he was taken to a Calgary hospital where he died from sepsis and untreated diabetes. He was 15.

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His parents, Emil and Rodica Radita, were found guilty in 2017 of first-degree murder.

Doctors at B.C. Children’s Hospital raised serious concerns about lack of treatment for Alex’s diabetes. Court heard his parents refused to accept he had the disease after he was diagnosed in 2000.

He was hospitalized twice in B.C. for malnutrition and taken into foster care, but later returned to his parents.

Brady said ministry officials contacted Boyko for foster care because she had more than 15 years of experience providing respite care and foster care for children with disabilities. Boyko was also diabetic.

Boyko looked after Alex Mondays to Fridays and returned him to his parents, who lived in Surrey, on the weekend, Brady said.

“She’d get Alex back on the Monday and it would take to the Wednesday to get his (blood) sugars straightened out,” Brady recalled. “He wasn’t getting the insulin properly.”

“They just never accepted” his diagnosis, she said.

She said they were required to deal with his diagnosis to get him back.

But Boyko didn’t believe the parents were genuine about improving his care.

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“Mum saw through it. Her exact words were ‘they’re going to kill him,’ ” Brady said, her voice cracking at the memory.

After Alex left Boyko’s care, she tried to follow up with the ministry for information on how he was doing, Brady said. Boyko was told because of privacy rules, she couldn’t get any updates.

Boyko was interviewed by police and Crown prosecutors before the Radita’s criminal trial. She died in 2016, a week before the trial began.

Children’s Minister Grace Lore wasn’t available for an interview this week but her ministry said there is an interprovincial protocol for sharing information about a child or youth in care that may need protection. The ministry said the alerts include information such as the reason for alert or cause for concern, other individuals or agencies involved in the alert, possible destinations, known history and actions required.

However, Alex was not in government care when his family moved to Alberta.

Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C.’s representative for children and youth, has said the cross-border information protocol didn’t happen because the ministry closed Alex’s file.

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Charlesworth said given the many warning signs about Alex, the ministry tried to bring him back into care through a continuing custody order. However, that request was turned down by a B.C. judge.

“I think it was regrettable that (his file) was closed,” Charlesworth told Postmedia News last month. “If it was open, then … there are provisions for interprovincial sharing of information when there are concerns.”

Charlesworth would like the federal-provincial-territorial working group, which includes provincial child welfare directors, to revisit their policies and provide an update on whether interprovincial communication is actually working.

Lore previously told Postmedia News that her ministry would thoroughly review Van de Veen’s recommendations to determine if existing protocols should be strengthened.

Boyko said her mother was distraught when she learned in 2013 that Alex had died.

“It was beyond devastation for her.”

Brady said her daughter was also hit hard by the news, as she looks back on the photos of her, a year younger than Alex, playing with him when she visited her grandmother’s house.

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Brady remembers Alex dressing as a pumpkin when she took him trick or treating in the fall of 2004.

“I took him trick or treating for the first time. He had never been trick or treating,” she said.

Brady has a hard time looking at the photo, widely used in the media, of Alex, looking emaciated and bruised, at his 15th birthday party, three months before his death.

“I have a hard time looking at that picture because (when I think of him), I see the chubby little boy. I see a little boy that was full of adventure.”

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