Manitoba

Boy in CFS care catches support worker sleeping on the job

The Manitoba government says it will boost monitoring of contract workers tasked with watching foster children, after video footage surfaced of a worker snoozing in a hotel room instead of doing his job.

Snoozing worker has since been terminated, according to Manitoba government

Boy in CFS care catches support worker sleeping on the job

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

7 years ago
1:51
The Manitoba government says it will boost monitoring of contract workers tasked with watching foster children, after video footage surfaced of a worker snoozing in a hotel room instead of doing his job. 1:51

The Manitoba government says it will boost monitoring of contract workers tasked with watching foster children, after video footage surfaced of a worker snoozing in a hotel room instead of doing his job.

The snoring support worker was caught on video by a teenager he was supposed to supervise. The boy was in the care of Child and Family Services (CFS) and was temporarily placed at the Travelodge Winnipeg East hotel in May.

A teenage boy who was in Child and Family Services care captured this video of his support worker sleeping in a hotel room instead of supervising him in May. The boy's grandmother, Marilyn, showed CBC News this footage on Thursday. (CBC)
The teen recorded the worker, who was asleep at 8:30 p.m., and sent the video to his grandmother, Marilyn. CBC News has agreed not to publish her last name to protect her grandson's identity.

"He was so mad because he can't hear the TV. And I said, 'From what?' And he said, 'This guy is snoring so loud,'" the grandmother said in an interview Thursday.

"I said, 'Didn't he just get there?' And he said, 'Yeah, about 20 minutes ago.'"

A provincial government spokesperson told CBC News the sleeping worker has been terminated.

"This incident came to the attention of Winnipeg CFS in early May and was dealt with immediately," the spokesperson stated in an email.

"Since then, the worker in the video has not worked in any Emergency Placement Resources program. We are ensuring that he never works in any other Family Service programs."

As well, the province will "increase monitoring of all service purchase staff working alone in our Emergency Placement Resources program" effective immediately, the spokesperson said.

Internal probe ordered

Marilyn's story is the latest to emerge about the provincial Child and Family Services Department's practice of placing children in care in hotel rooms.

Last week, CBC News reported that the province spent more than $13 million in the past year to hire companies to supervise children in care who are staying in hotels in group homes.

Some teens in CFS care who have been placed in hotels said they witnessed prostitution and drug use, while a former worker said staff received minimal training and had no control over the children they were supposed to watch.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross has ordered an internal probe by the accountability unit in her department into the contracts and what the companies do.

Shuffled around CFS system

Marilyn said her grandson went into CFS care in September 2013 because he was suffering from health issues and she could not care for him in her home.

In less than a year, he was shuffled between a foster home, a hotel, the care of his mother and back to the grandmother's home several times.

Manitoba Child and Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross has ordered an internal probe by the accountability unit in her department into the contracts given to companies to watch over children in provincial care. (CBC)
Marilyn said her grandson missed months of school and began to change. She added that she tried to get him counselling but his social worker wouldn't get back to him right away.

"I can't tell you how many hours I spent crying. I never knew what it physically felt like for a heart to break," she said.

After a year of being bounced around in the CFS system, Marilyn's grandson, now 14 years old, is living with his stepfather outside the city and is doing well, she said.

Marilyn said she is sharing her experience in the hopes of helping other children and families.

"My number one priority is for my grandson to be happy," she said. "But for another child to go through this, no."

now