In March 2006, Manitobans were shocked to learn of the tragic death of five-year-old Phoenix Sinclair. In response to the public concern about the safety of children, the Government commissioned two external reviews into the child and family services system in Manitoba.
The death of any child at any time is a tragedy and deeply affects families and communities. When a child dies who has been involved with the child and family services system, workers at all levels of the system also experience a deep emotional impact and sense of loss.
One review, report titled Strengthen the Commitment, focuses on case management practices across the system. The other review, called under Section 4 of The Child and Family Services Act, had two components. One component considered the services provided to Phoenix Sinclair and her family, and the second examined 99 cases between 2003 to 2006 in which a child had either been in care at the time of his or her death or had received service from the child and family services system within one prior year.
The report from the review of child deaths between 2003 and 2006 is titled Honouring Their Spirits.
In addition to the two external reviews, the four child and family services Authorities immediately announced their own review in which child protection workers were asked to have contact with every child in care or receiving service from the child and family services system. This extraordinary measure was undertaken to assure families and the public that children receiving services from the system were known, accounted for and were safe.