Inquiry hears social workers planned to return girl to parents despite concerns

The Canadian Press
November 15, 2012

WINNIPEG - An inquiry into the death of a Manitoba girl has been told social workers had many concerns about her parents, but worked toward reuniting the family.

The inquiry is examining the death of five-year-old Phoenix Sinclair, who was killed by her mother and mother's boyfriend shortly after being taken out of foster care and returned to her mom.

Kerri-Lynn Greeley, the social worker in charge of the file in the months after the girl's birth, says there were concerns about the mother's history of violence, her gang associations and a possible mental disorder.

Despite that, Greeley says she and her supervisor drew up a plan that would reunite the family — as long as the mother underwent a psychological evaluation and took parenting courses.

Samantha Kematch and her boyfriend, Karl McKay, were convicted of first-degree murder in Phoenix's death, which followed months of abuse and neglect.

The inquiry is examining how child welfare failed to protect Phoenix and why the child was eventually returned to her mother.