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Monday, July 28, 2014

Minister confirms dead toddler had dealings with Child and Family Services

HODGSON, Man. - Manitoba's embattled child welfare agency is under scrutiny again after officials confirmed a dead toddler had at some point been in the care of Child and Family Services.

RCMP say the death of the 21-month-old girl on Peguis First Nation is being treated as a homicide.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross says the child and the family had involvement with CFS, but she wouldn't go into details.

RCMP say the little girl was brought from Peguis First Nation to nearby Percy E. Moore Hospital in Hodgson, Man., in medical distress on the afternoon of July 17.

She died later that evening.

The child has not been identified and there have been no arrests in the case.

Irvin-Ross rejected comparisons to the case of five-year-old Phoenix Sinclair, who was beaten to death by her mother and stepfather in 2005 after being in and out of foster care.

The child's death resulted in a two-year, $14 million inquiry which wrapped up less than six months ago. Commissioner Ted Hughes made 62 recommendations to better protect children in care in Manitoba.

"I'm not prepared right now to make that comparison, I think we need to get a lot more information and evaluation about what happened," Irvin-Ross said.

In addition to the police homicide investigation, the province says an internal review of the child's case is being launched. The chief medical examiner will also probe the death, and the province has asked the Children's Advocate to make the case a priority.

(Global Winnipeg) -CP-

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