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Team reviewing recommendations from inquiry into child's death to report back

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives say they want immediate action on the recommendations from an inquiry into the death of a five-year-old girl.

Family services critic Ian Wishart said the consultants examining how to put the 62 recommendations from the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry into practice are scheduled to report back at the end of the month.

The Tories want to make sure that the report doesn't sit on the desk of Child and Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, he said.

"We want to see actions taken," Wishart said Thursday.

"We think the recommendations of the Sinclair inquiry by Justice (Ted) Hughes were very good. We get little accountability with regards to this so we really want to get some action."

Phoenix bounced in and out of foster care, suffering horrific abuse at the hands of her mother and stepfather, before she died from her injuries in 2005.

Her death was not discovered for months while her mother continued to collect child subsidy cheques.

An inquiry into her death found Manitoba's welfare system fundamentally failed to protect the girl or support her family.

A spokeswoman for Irvin-Ross said the province has made hundreds of changes to the child welfare system since Phoenix's murder.

"We announced in January that 31 of Commissioner Hughes’ recommendations are already being implemented," Rachel Morgan said in an emailed statement.

"We’ve hired an independent consulting firm to develop an implementation plan for the remaining 31 recommendations. When we receive the plan, we will begin acting on it."

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