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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry

While there is much evidence yet to come in the Manitoba Inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, one piece of it that emerged last week has an all too familiar ring to it. It is one that we have heard in so many of these inquiries in various countries - case loads that were too high. In this case, the social worker who was testifying spoke of initially having 40 cases to manage - an impossible number.

However, the worker goes on to explain that more than the case number, is the number of children being managed. She described that you could cut the caseload in half but still face over whelming demands with families that have high numbers of children.

Maybe it is not the number of cases that should be considered but the number of children that should be the gauge of what is too many.

Yet two fundamental problems would persist - 1. not enough social workers are being drawn into child protection work and 2. retaining those that are is challenging with high caseloads, complex needs and limited resources with which to work.

One hopes that as Justice Hughes works his way through this inquiry that he will look at some of the core issues facing child protection and social work. There will be more to think about as the evidence unfolds.

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