News / Calgary

Calgary father pushing for passage of Serenity’s Law

Legislation would require adults to report suspected child abuse or face jail time, fines

Ceira McGrath died after allegedly being left unattended in a car seat at her unlicensed day home in Nov. 2015. Her father, Ryan McGrath, says he believes it could have been prevented if others reported issues with the day home.

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Ceira McGrath died after allegedly being left unattended in a car seat at her unlicensed day home in Nov. 2015. Her father, Ryan McGrath, says he believes it could have been prevented if others reported issues with the day home.

A Calgary father who’s daughter died after going into medical distress at a day home more than a year ago, is throwing his support behind a law that would legally obligate adults to report any potential child abuse or harmful situations to police.

The owner and operator of the unlicensed day home Ryan McGrath's twin toddlers were attending has been charged in connection with the death of his daughter, Ceira Lynn, after allegedly leaving her unattended in car seat back in November, 2015.

Serenity’s Law, put forward by Progressive Conservative MLA for Calgary-West, Mike Ellis, would legally require adults to report if any child was in harm or face up to six months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

McGrath said when he found out there wasn’t such a law already he was “blown away,” and said he will now do whatever it takes to get it through the legislature.

“My family absolutely supports this law. Anything Mike needs from us, we would be there,” McGrath told Metro. “I'll holler from the rooftops to get this through.”

McGrath said maybe if Serenity’s Law already existed his daughter might still be alive.

Ellis said he’s hopeful Serenity’s Law will pass.

“If this means saving kids lives we need to pass it,” he said.

Ellis said in cases like that of Serenity, Ryan Lovett and Alex Radita as examples, other adults were present who should have stepped in.

“They were aware these children required immediate intervention and help and did nothing, so that is why this has come about,” he said.

Ellis said support from families like the McGraths is invaluable.

“There is nothing more important than doing whatever we can to ensure the safety of children and learning from past mistakes,” he said. “Knowing that Mr. McGrath is there to support me and work with me to get this legislation through—I am truly humbled.”

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