Manitoba social worker says she 'probably could' have done more to check on girl

Associated Press

WINNIPEG - A Manitoba social worker says she "probably could" have done more to check on a girl whose death is now the subject of a public inquiry.

Laura Forrest took on Phoenix Sinclair's case in February 2003, when the toddler was brought to hospital with an infection from an object that had been lodged in her nose for three months.

Forrest told the inquiry she went to the girl's home and was met by her father, Steve Sinclair, but was told Phoenix was being cared for by a family friend.

Forrest said she went back to the home a few times over the next four months, but there was no answer at the door.

Under cross-examination, Forrest said she could have tried visiting at night or calling other relatives, but she feared that might have made the girl's father unco-operative.

Phoenix was seized by child welfare workers several times in her life and returned to her mother a final time in 2004 — the year before she was beaten to death by her mother and mother's boyfriend.

The inquiry has already heard evidence that social workers failed to monitor Phoenix for months at a time.

The hearings are to determine how Phoenix fell through the cracks of Manitoba child welfare and why her death went undetected for nine months.

View Comments (11)