Phoenix Sinclair inquiry resumes with testimony from former Child and Family Services CEO
Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013 6:30PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2013 6:34PM CST
On Tuesday, the province’s Child Advocate took the stand at the inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair.
The 5-year-old had been surrendered to Child and Family Services at birth and spent her short life in and out of care.
For years, Darlene MacDonald worked for Winnipeg Child and Family Services. MacDonald was the CEO the year Phoenix was killed by her mother Samantha Kematch and stepfather Karl McKay.
Darlene MacDonald told the commission that given the child’s history, young age, and allegation of being locked in her room, social workers should have made a point to see Phoenix before closing her case, even though it wasn’t a written policy at the time.
“If somebody called and said the child was at risk I do believe the child needs to be seen,” said MacDonald.
Phoenix's case was closed at a time when her mother had just given birth to a new baby, and moved in with a new boyfriend. Macdonald testified she would have expected social workers to do background checks and actual home visits, and not rely on third party information despite their heavy workloads.
Since Phoenix's death, hundreds of recommendations have been implemented to the child welfare system including mandatory home visits before a case can be closed.
The inquiry is hearing an application for a publication ban on Wednesday. Witness testimony is expected to resume on Thursday.