CJOB – Social Workers Failed Phoenix: Final Inquiry Report


Social Workers Failed Phoenix: Final Inquiry Report

Winnipeg, MB, Canada
680 CJOB Team Coverage
January 31, 2014 11:05 am

The vast majority of the social workers involved in the life of 5-year-old Phoenix Sinclair failed her miserably, according to the Commission Inquiry Report released today.

For that, the provincial government is offering an apology to those with connections to Sinclair but it is not placing specific blame on any of the social workers.

Manitoba Minister of Family Services – Kerri Irvin-Ross – says the point of the inquiry was not to place blame and so she won’t say if individual workers will be disciplined as a result of the report.

The little girl was beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend, Wesley Mckay in 2005. Had the social workers and their supervisors done their job properly, Phoenix would have never been in the care of anyone associated with McKay, a man with a long violent history.

She bounced in and out of foster care until her death on the Fisher River First Nation in 2005. Her mother, Samantha Kematch, and McKay, were found guilty of first-degree murder.

Commissioner Ted Hughes’ 902-page report contains 62 recommendations on how to improve Manitoba’s child welfare system.

Over the course of the inquiry, Commissioner Ted Hughes heard testimony from 126 witnesses over 91 days.

The first phase of the inquiry looked at the circumstances surrounding Phoenix’s death. The second phase examined the changes made to the child welfare system since her death and what problems still exist.

The third phase took a much broader scope, looking at the factors that bring families into contact with the child welfare system.

There are about 9,000 Manitoba children in foster care, 8,000 are aboriginal.