Foster girl's biological father seemed interested in parenting: supervisor

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - An inquiry has heard more testimony about how social workers treated a young Manitoba girl who would eventually be beaten to death.

The inquiry is examining the death of Phoenix Sinclair, who was killed by her mother and mother's boyfriend in 2005, when she was five years old.

The inquiry is being told that both of the girl's parents had a history of violence and substance abuse, but social workers were optimistic the parents could improve.

In late 2003, Phoenix was given back to her father, despite a social worker's report five months earlier that he was a substance abuser and posed a risk to the girl.

Heather Edinborough, a social work supervisor at the time, testified that the father, Steve Sinclair, seemed to be getting his life together and appeared interested in parenting.

He had been in foster care himself and his formal assessment had said he was "disturbed" and should not be in charge of children, but Edinborough told the inquiry that she believes people can change.