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Support worker conducted 'sneak attacks' to check on Phoenix's home

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The in-home support worker hired to mentor Phoenix Sinclair's parents told the inquiry into the little girl's death that she conducted "sneak attacks" when she visited their home and saw that they were doing well.

Marie Pickering was contracted by Child and Family Services to help them and report back on how they were doing to their social worker. Pickering said it was her practice to show up unannounced to see how families were faring.

Pickering recalls little of the time she spent with the family when Phoenix was months old. She went to the home twice a week to teach Samantha Kematch and Steve Sinclair proper parenting, one of the conditions required for them to get their baby back from child welfare authorities. She said she wrote weekly progress reports for her supervisor to send to clients' social workers.

In this case, CFS has not been able to locate any of Pickering's reports. The inquiry has relied on social workers' notes of their contact with Pickering about Phoenix's parents. Pickering reported that the home was "neat and clean" and they appeared ready for an overnight visit with their baby. In September, they regained custody of Phoenix.

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