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Neglect, Nepotism and Bad Case Work
July 18, 2008 permalink
When two-year-old Gage Guimond was being killed by his foster parent in Winnipeg, where were the social workers responsible for his safety? 1200 kilometers away at a retreat in Calgary. Manitoba has taken the easy route of charging the foster mother and great aunt Shirley Guimond, while the social workers remain immune.
July 18, 2008
All placements to be reviewed
By PAUL TURENNE, SUN MEDIA
All child and family services placements across Manitoba will immediately be audited after a review into the 2007 death of toddler Gage Guimond revealed nepotism, a questionable staff retreat to Calgary, and a serious lack of adherence to standards by child care workers may have contributed to his killing.
Almost a year ago, Guimond died a day after his second birthday from injuries he allegedly suffered at the hand of his great aunt, Shirley Guimond, whom the Sagkeeng CFS agency had entrusted with his care.
Shirley has been charged with manslaughter and assault, but has pleaded not guilty. Her next court appearance is set for September.
Yesterday, the Southern First Nations Network of Care, which oversees Sagkeeng CFS, released the scathing results of a review it conducted into Gage Guimond's case. The Sagkeeng agency's executive director was asked to resign two weeks ago, and did as a result of the review's findings.
The review revealed Guimond would likely never have been placed in his great aunt's home had the resource worker assessing the situation -- an under-qualified "close relative" of the agency's executive director -- done the required check that examines a caregiver's prior contact with the CFS system.
"There was very critical and important information that was missed," said Elsie Flette, CEO of Southern First Nations Network of Care.
The review also found, among other things, Guimond was fatally injured while an "inexperienced and overwhelmed" junior employee was left in charge of Sagkeeng CFS as the majority of the agency's employees attended a staff retreat in Calgary.
While in Calgary, workers listened to a couple of speakers, played games, and went shopping. The review states no actual conference took place.
"What a deadly, tragic cascade of neglect, nepotism and bad case work," said Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh.
Mackintosh announced the more than 4,000 CFS placements in Manitoba will all be immediately reviewed to ensure all the proper checks were done when the children were placed in their foster homes or short-term places of safety.
Last week, Mackintosh gave CFS authorities the money to begin conducting regular audits so operations can continually be reviewed -- not only after tragic incidents.
Mackintosh said he will accept and attempt to implement all of the Guimond review's 88 recommendations.
Source: Winnipeg Sun