Inquiry into Manitoba child welfare hears of more gaps in care

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - An inquiry into the death of a Manitoba girl has heard of more gaps in the province's child-welfare system.

Rohan Stephenson, along with his former wife Kim Edwards, took care of Phoenix Sinclair for much of her life while her father, Steve Sinclair, would go on drinking binges.

Phoenix bounced between foster care and her family before being beaten to death by her mother and mother's boyfriend in 2005.

Stephenson testified he misled social workers by not revealing that he and his wife had split up and she had moved out.

He said he didn't respect Manitoba's child welfare, so he also ignored guidelines by letting Steve Sinclair take Phoenix on many occasions.

Stephenson told the inquiry he let the girl's mother, Samantha Kematch, take her in April 2004 for what were supposed to be a few days, but Kematch never brought her back.

social workers performed little or no monitoring and were none the wiser, but says his home was "an ideal place" for Phoenix.