Manitoba

Child welfare changes don't go far enough, children's advocate says

The Manitoba government is implementing more recommendations from an inquiry into the province's troubled child welfare system.

New bill would make the children's advocate more independent from government

The inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair laid bare the failures of Manitoba's child-welfare system. (Inquiry photo)

The Manitoba government is implementing more recommendations from an inquiry into the province's troubled child welfare system.

But the Manitoba children's advocate said the changes do not go far enough.

A bill now before the legislature would make the children's advocate more independent from government, and give it more authority to issue public reports on cases where the system fails to protect children.

The government is not yet implementing other recommendations, such as giving the advocate the authority to act on behalf of kids who are not in the child welfare system but who need help in education, justice or other areas.

In a written statement, the Office of the Children's Advocate said it is disappointed many changes are still on hold.

The recommendations were made 18 months ago following an inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, a five-year old girl who was beaten to death after social workers closed her file.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross said more action will be taken, but she first plans to consult aboriginal leaders, government departments and others.

There are about 10,000 children in Manitoba's child welfare system and about 90 per are aboriginal

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