Social worker who decided girl was safe without seeing her followed guidelines

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg social worker who closed the books on a young girl three months before her death says he followed procedures in place at the time.

Christopher Zalevich (ZAHL'-uh-vitch) went to Phoenix Sinclair's home in March 2005 on a tip that the four-year-old was being abused by her mother Samantha Kematch (KEE'-match).

Zalevich talked with Kematch but never saw Phoenix, and closed the file later that day.

In June of that year, Phoenix was beaten to death by her mother and mother's boyfriend.

Zalevich has told an inquiry into the death that child protection standards in 2005 did not require workers to see a youngster before closing a file.

The standards were changed a few years later and now require workers to see all children in a home before closing a case.