Darcy Henton & Karen Kleiss, Ages: 57, 36
Hometowns: Maple Creek, Saskatchewan; Alliston, Ontario
Influential Because: They catalyzed change in Alberta’s foster care system
In November, the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald published “Fatal Care,” a six-part investigative series that veteran reporters Karen Kleiss and Darcy Henton spent months investigating. The pair reported that 145 children had died in government care since 1999, nearly triple the deaths reported in public documents. Publication bans prevented the parents of dead children from speaking to the media about their deaths, or even supplying their names. As a result of the publicity, the Alberta government promised to review its policies. In April, it tabled legislation that will expand the role of the province’s children’s advocate and reverse the ban on publishing the names and photos of children who die in foster care. Parents will now have the option of seeking a publication ban, but one will not be automatically enforced. Kleiss and Henton were nominated for numerous awards for the series, and in March received the prestigious 2014 Canadian Hillman Prize in journalism.