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Child, Youth and Family Services

March 24, 2014

Committed to the Safety and Protection of Children

Members Appointed to the Child Death Review Committee

The Provincial Government today announced the appointments to the Child Death Review Committee and reiterated the important work that this multidisciplinary group of experts will undertake. The committee’s ultimate goal is to help to prevent deaths and to improve the health and safety of children.

“The establishment of the Child Death Review Committee signifies the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s dedication to the improvement of justice and protection for children and families. We are confident that the committee will enable us to learn from and help prevent the untimely deaths of children in the province. I would like to extend my appreciation to the extremely qualified individuals who have offered their distinct knowledge and experience with an aim of ensuring the well-being of the children of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
- The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Justice

The creation of the Child Death Review Committee was a recommendation of the Turner Review and Investigation Report, and was established pursuant to amendments to the Fatalities Investigations Act in 2012. The committee will be chaired by Ellen Oliver who holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and will bring more than 37 years of experience in the field to the role. Other members are Dr. Simon Avis (Ex Officio Member), Janine Evans (Vice Chair), Lorraine Burrage, Noreen Careen, Barry Constantine, Dr. Victoria Crosbie, and Dr. Robert Morris. Biographies of all committee members can be found in the backgrounder below.

The Child Death Review Committee will review cases involving the deaths of children (under 19 years) which have been provided by the Chief Medical Examiner, who is a member of the committee by virtue of his office. These deaths would have been referred to the Chief Medical Examiner’s office as specifically outlined in sections 5-8 of the Fatalities Investigations Act.

The committee will then look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the cause of death, with a view to promoting prevention through education, identifying systemic problems and offering recommendations. Newfoundland and Labrador will be one of the few jurisdictions in North America to legislate the framework for the process.

“The implementation of the Child Death Review Committee is another important element of our government’s larger plan to transform all child, youth and family services. It is through this transformation process and the future work of the Child Death Review Committee that the Provincial Government will be able to continue making the necessary reforms to safeguard our province’s children and youth.”
- The Honourable Paul Davis, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to supporting important social programs, strong communities and the health and well-being of children, families and seniors.


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Media contacts:

Luke Joyce
Director of Communications
Department of Justice
709-729-6985, 725-4165
Michelle Hunt
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 725-1593


Below are the biographies of the members of the Child Death Review Committee.

Ex Officio Member - Dr. Simon Avis
Dr. Simon Avis received his Doctor of Medicine from Memorial University in 1979, where he also completed his specialty training in Pathology. His training in Forensic Pathology was completed in Washington, DC. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, is recognized as a specialist in Anatomic and General Pathology and is also recognized as a Founder of the specialty of Forensic Pathology in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Avis has served as the Chief Medical Examiner for the province since its proclamation in September 2006, prior to which he served as the Deputy Chief and Chief Forensic Pathologist. Dr. Avis is a full-time faculty member of Memorial University’s Medical School, serving as Professor and Chair of Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Avis has also served as the vice-chair of the Forensic Pathology specialty committee of the Royal College and will take on the position as Chair in July of 2014. Dr. Avis has also been an examiner in Forensic Pathology with the Royal College since 2007.

Chair - Ellen Oliver
Ellen Oliver received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Memorial University in 1977 and her Masters of Social Work degree from the University of British Columbia in 1982. She has spent most of her 37-year career in Newfoundland and Labrador where she has worked in Labrador, central Newfoundland and St. John’s. Her interest in social justice and the facilitation of personal and social change has been pursued internationally through her past involvement with the International Federation of Social Workers, nationally during her term as President of the Canadian Association of Social Workers, and locally through her various jobs, and membership in the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers. Ms. Oliver worked primarily in mental health positions early in her career including for several years as a mental health consultant with the Provincial Government and during the last 18 years she has held various teaching and management positions in the School of Social Work at Memorial University. She also offers counselling and consultation as a private practitioner and has presented numerous workshops and presentations locally and internationally.

Vice Chair - Janine Evans
Janine Evans holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Memorial University and a Law degree from Dalhousie University. For the past 25 years, Ms. Evans has devoted most of her professional life to areas such as family law, child protection, support enforcement, health law, domestic violence, and mental health. She is currently a member of the Mental Health Care and Treatment Review Board. Ms. Evans has worked at St. Thomas University teaching criminology, and University of New Brunswick Law School, where she taught Children’s Law.


Lorraine M. Burrage is a registered nurse and received a Bachelor of Nursing in 1979 and a Master of Science in Medicine in 2005 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Ms. Burrage has spent all of her nursing career either working with, or working for, pregnant women and children – from staff nurse in neonatal care units, pediatric emergency rooms and birth units, to Manager of Labour and Birth and Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics and Obstetrics at Memorial University’s School of Nursing. Since 2003, she has been Program Coordinator with the Perinatal Program Newfoundland and Labrador. As coordinator, Ms. Burrage has been actively involved in maternal/newborn quality assurance initiatives, policy development, research, education, promoting best practices for health professionals and managing a clinic for babies and young children at risk for developmental delay. Ms. Burrage is a member of a number of national and provincial committees such as the Canadian Perinatal Programs Coalition, Provincial Perinatal Advisory Committee and Baby-Friendly Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Noreen Careen is Executive Director with the Labrador West Status of Women, a position she’s held for 15 years. She is the co-chair of Hope Haven, a women’s shelter to provide safety for women and children exiting abusive situations and is also co-chair of the Labrador West Housing and Homelessness Coalition. Ms. Careen has also been the Victim Services Assistant with the Department of Justice for Labrador West for the past nine years. She is a Director with the Newfoundland and Labrador Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and is also a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Network for Housing and Homelessness Coalition. As part of her role with the Status of Women, Ms. Careen has assisted many women and families, including building relationships with various Aboriginal women in Labrador West. She is passionate, hardworking and extremely dedicated to improving the lives of women and families.

Barry Constantine has been a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for 30 years and has experience working in Patrol Services, the Traffic Division and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), which includes the Sexual Offences Unit and the Major Crime Unit. Mr. Constantine has served as Officer in Charge of Platoon, Patrol Services and also as Officer in Charge of Operation Support Services. After achieving the rank of Inspector, Mr. Constantine was appointed as Officer in Charge of Crimes against Persons for the CID.

Dr. Victoria A. Crosbie was awarded her Doctor of Medicine from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1990 after which she completed her residency in Pediatrics at the Dr. Charles A. Janeway Child Health Centre, where she was appointed Chief Pediatric Resident. Dr. Crosbie currently operates a community-based practice in developmental medicine and works with Eastern Health’s Child Development and Learning Rehabilitation Division, in addition to clinical teaching for Pediatric residents. Dr. Crosbie is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Robert Morris graduated Memorial University with a Bachelor of Medical Sciences in 1974 and a Doctorate of Medicine in 1976. Dr. Morris became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1984, with a specialty in pediatrics. He did a pediatric residency at the Janeway Child Health Centre and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Dr. Morris has held a number of positions at the Janeway and is a member of the Janeway Child Protection Coordinating Team and an Associate Professor in Pediatrics at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. He has served on a number of committees related to Child Protection including as a Member at Large of the Founding Board of Directors (2004-12), Child and Youth Maltreatment Section, Canadian Pediatric Society and as the Chair, Interdisciplinary Curriculum Committee, and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (2005-09).

2014 03 24                                        2:35 p.m.

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