Family of 4-year-old girl questions role of Social Services
The family of a Regina girl who died from alleged abuse and neglect says social services failed to protect her.
Charges of manslaughter against her caregivers are progessing through the courts but relatives of four year old June Goforth are questioning why Social Services was not checking on the welfare of the girl and her two year old sister.
The two people that were looking after them Tammy and Kevin Goforth are charged with manslaughter after the girl died in the hospital early this month.
On the steps of the provincial court, the girls' family members were holding signs calling for justice. They want answers on why this happened.
"They should have been going and doing the home visits, checking the state they were living in," said Marji Shore, the girls' maternal aunt.
The women say over time, the four-year-old girl and her younger sister started to change.
"When they seen her at church, she was timid and scared," Shore said while others said she was even scared to be hugged.
Shore and her sisters are furious with social services, saying the child's mother wasn't allowed to see her children and had tried to get them back.
Associate deputy minister of social services Andrea Brittin says they cannot comment on the specific case.
Brittin explains there are situations where relatives agree to take over care of a child that the courts have taken from a natural parent. In those cases they may not have regular contact to check on the children as they would do in a regular foster home.
She insisted the Ministry does take some precautions before the children are placed in any home.
"The ministry would conduct that home study to determine whether that family can safely care for the children and would submit that report to the court who ultimately decides on the custody arrangement.
Britin admits after that home study, social services may not keep checking back regularly.
"It depends on the situation, contact with the family would be negotiated and mutually agreed to," she said.
Brittin also says social services is assisting in the criminal investigation and also examining its own role in the death of the little girl.
Edited by CJME's Adriana Christianson with files from Patrick Book, Alex Docking and Natalie Geddes