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CFS unit missing half its staff, Phoenix inquiry hears

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The social worker who closed the file on Phoenix Sinclair when she was returned to her mother testified that her unit at Winnipeg Child and Family Services was missing half of its staff at the time.

"I would work through lunches, stay late, and take home work in evenings and on weekends," Tracy Forbes told the inquiry into how the little girl who died in care fell through the cracks of the child welfare system.

Phoenix was slain by her mother Samantha Kematch in 2005 but her death wasn't discovered until 2006.

"It was difficult," Forbes said this morning as the public hearing entered its seventh week.

"We were doing the job of of two workers," said Forbes who was the intake worker at Winnipeg Child and Family Services assigned the file on Phoenix.

"It was extremely busy and stressful," said Forbes who testified that three of the six intake workers in her unit were off work. Forbes said she complained to her supervisor about the workload issue. She attended a meeting with her supervisor and a program manager but it didn't help, she said.

"They were sympathetic," recalled Forbes, but basically told her: "Do the best you can with the time and resources you have."

Commission counsel Derek Olson asked her if the meeting led to any improvement in terms of workload.

"It probably got worse."

History

Updated on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM CST: Fix typo.

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