MANDEL: Mom welcomes investigation into murder of teenage son in foster care

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There are so many questions to be answered in the horrific and senseless murder of a boy placed in a for-profit foster home with an abusive teenager.

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The Toronto Sun has learned that those answers may be coming soon now that the coroner’s office has decided to investigate the murder of 15-year-old David Roman by another youngster at the Barrie home run by Expanding Horizons Family Services Inc.

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The boy should never have been in that lion’s den.

« My son, he was placed in a house he didn’t belong to, » says his mother Elena Dvoskina, her English tinged with her native Russian accent. « He was not a problem child. He had no contact with the law.

In the fall of 2018, David’s parents became concerned about his absence from school and his increased weed consumption. They sought help from a CAS social worker in York Region, who recommended temporary foster care to get him back on track.

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But just two months after David was moved to the home for fourteen teenagers in Barrie, he was attacked in his bed by a 14-year-old with a history of violence.

And when David ran for help from the only adult in the house – Jordan Calver, 24, who had been hired with no previous experience – his attacker caught up with him in the upstairs hallway.

According to the sentencing judge, Calver locked his bedroom door and was on the phone with 911 while the assailant continued to stab David repeatedly.


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David suffered 20 stab wounds, including one where the the blade of a knife plunged down one side of his neck and the other, severing his jugular and carotid arteries.

The killer, now 18 and whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was sentenced earlier this month to the maximum youth sentence of 10, including six in custody.

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In a $2.75 million lawsuit filed in 2020, Roman’s parents, Dvoskina and Antonio Roman, along with his sister, claim that Expanding Horizons as well as child aid agencies were negligent in placing David with a dangerous teenager under the supervision of an adoptive « father » with no experience in child protection.

Expanding Horizons and the CAS of York, Simcoe and Hamilton have denied all allegations.

According to the lawsuit, the Crown ward was arrested and released for attempting to rob a convenience store just days after moving into the foster home. The day before the murder, he had been charged with mischief after allegedly breaking down Calver’s locked bedroom door.

Nobody knew he had stolen two kitchen knives from the bedside table.

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Dvoskina claims she learned that Calver didn’t want the boy home after his arrest, but Expanding Horizons forced him to take him back.

When Barrie police released him on February 18, 2019, the teenager was angry that one of his housemates had « reported » him. Shortly after 5:45 a.m. the next morning, this anger erupted in the killing of an innocent 15-year-old boy.

“The hardest part,” her mother said in a broken voice, “is knowing that your child suffered and that you weren’t there. And he was scared and you weren’t there.

« And you put him in this situation. »

While the grieving mother blames herself, the real blame lies elsewhere: Why wasn’t David told he was living with an abusive teenager? Why were these children not enrolled in school or given any program or counselling?

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The system failed not only David, but also his killer.

« He needed help and he didn’t get it, » Dvoskina said.


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The inquiry must examine how we care for these vulnerable children.

« If all you’re doing is warehousing these kids for money, there seems to be something very wrong with that, » says family attorney Alex Van Kralingen.

In its defence, Expanding Horizons claims to have had advisers to « provide services to residents » and to have performed « reasonably and competently, professionally, fairly, in good faith, without malice ».

Incredibly, the province renewed the company’s license to continue to accommodate children.

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