Phoenix; The Shame of Canada

PhoenixIf this doesn’t rip your heart out and fill you with rage; you are not human. If you don’t get sick to your stomach reading what the union, representing social workers, has to say on this matter or the appalling comments of the Manitoba General Child and Family Services Authority, in their impotent attempt to cover their asses? Then wrap your lips around an exhaust pipe because you are wasting precious oxygen.

Manitoba releasing inquiry report into how murdered girl slipped through cracks
By Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG – Manitoba is set to release a long-awaited report into how the province’s social services failed a murdered five-year-old girl during her short life.

The inquiry report by Commissioner Ted Hughes into Phoenix Sinclair’s death is expected this morning. The report was delivered Dec. 15, but officials said its recommendations couldn’t be released until after a “thorough review by the government.”

The government also cited a provincial law that prevents making announcements during a by-election campaign. Votes in two constituencies were held earlier this week.

Hughes spent almost two years examining the death of Phoenix, who bounced in and out of foster care before her death in 2005. She was killed by her mother, Samantha Kematch, and her stepfather, Karl McKay, after repeated and horrific abuse. Both were convicted of first degree murder in 2008.

The pair neglected, confined, tortured and beat Phoenix. She ultimately died of her extensive injuries on the cold basement floor of the couple’s home on the Fisher River reserve. She was buried in a shallow grave by the community dump and Kematch continued to collect child subsidy cheques before anyone noticed the girl’s absence.

The inquiry was tasked with determining why Phoenix slipped through the cracks and how her death went undiscovered for months. The inquiry sat for 91 days and heard testimony from 126 witnesses. The province says the final report is more than 1,000 pages long.
The union representing social workers argued they didn’t have a “crystal ball” and couldn’t have foreseen Phoenix’s death, but the girl’s foster mother and biological father said her death was preventable.

Editorial comment:couldn’t have foreseen Phoenix’s death.” This heinous crime couldn’t have sent out more warnings than if someone had taken out an ad on the Super Bowl. A crystal ball wouldn’t be needed if the workers involved has used even a modicum of common sense. If they had cared, if they had any concept of professionalism. Or was it because Phoenix was aboriginal? I think you can combine all three, with a double helping of the latter – Phoenix was native. For the union to offer such a sniveling comment in the light of this tragedy is a clue as to why our social services can see a child abuses, tortured and ultimately murdered; it’s more important to protect the unconscionable than to tell the truth. To step up and fix what’s wrong. Starting with a union that protect criminal incompetence.

Phoenix was taken by Child and Family Services at least twice during her life — once at birth and again three years later — but she was returned to her mother each time.

When authorities were contacted shortly before the girl’s death about allegations she was being abused, a social worker visited Kematch and left without going into the apartment or seeing if Phoenix was OK.
Her file was closed. Three months later, she was dead.

Kim Edwards, the foster mother Phoenix called “nana-mom,” made a tearful final submission to the inquiry and told Hughes “the time for excuses must end with your report.” Phoenix’s death must not be in vain, she said.

The province and welfare organizations argued the case has already vastly improved child welfare in Manitoba.
The General Child and Family Services Authority said there were six extensive reviews and numerous recommendations made after the little girl was killed. The authority said there are fewer children coming into care now and it is far less probable a similar death will occur again.

Editorial comment: Far less probable? It should not even be up for comment; there is absolutely no reason for this to ever occur again. The monumental ineptitude displayed by the ministry, the social workers and the union is out in the open, for all to see. The can be no excuse, there can be no justification for what happened to little Phoenix and there can never be any excuse for this to ever happen again. Perhaps if the social workers and their supervisors were held to be, actually, accountable for their hand in this murder?  Then a dead child due to incompetence and bureaucracy would, truly, never happen again. 

The province said funding for child welfare has tripled between 2002 and 2012 and the number of frontline workers has increased.

1 Comment

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One response to “Phoenix; The Shame of Canada

  1. I’ve seen it up close and personal. A friend of mine took in an emergency foster child after his mother broke his skull and forearm. He was 10 months old. After 3 years living happly with them, they applied to adopt him. But he was given back to his mother instead. I have no idea what happened after that, but it was enough for me to see the system is broken.

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