Child Affairs Minister says she’s not responsible for suspension of Couva Children’s home manager

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Child Affairs Minister says she’s not responsible for suspension of Couva Children’s home manager

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy said she is not responsible for the recent suspension of a manager at the Couva Children’s Home and Crisis Nursery.

This follows the revelation on Thursday that Kerri-Ann Leon Sing was placed on suspension on the grounds that she had breached the home’s confidentiality policy by revealing matters relating to an internal investigation into alleged abuse by a resident and proceeding on vacation without authorisation.

Leon Sing had raised concerns in a GML report of sexual abuse at the home involving a 12-year-old resident.

Webster-Roy told the same media house that she was not responsible for the hiring or firing of staff.

When asked whether she felt any responsibility as line minister, Webster-Roy said, “I ensure that the home is financially resourced. I don’t have any oversight there.”

Meanwhile, during the Women’s Entrepreneurial Development and Product Expo “Women’s Village” on Harris Promenade, San Fernando, on Wednesday, the minister referred questions regarding the matter to the Children’s Authority.

In her address at the event, however, the minister said the media often carry negative stories surrounding children but many positive things are happening.

She said, “I know 99.9 per cent of the times when the thing hit the media when it comes to children is the bad news, but it has good things happening as well. We are doing meaningful work to address issues surrounding children in Trinidad and Tobago. We have partnered with a various number of entities and agencies to address issues around children and youth mental health.”

With the help of UNICEF and other agencies, she said they have developed a directory of children’s services and a workbook for mental health for children.

She said they also have a standing committee on child protection that meets regularly, as they work towards improving and building a stronger childcare protection sector.

“Acknowledging the faults, recognising the gaps, but also resolute in our commitment towards ensuring that children in Trinidad and Tobago have an opportunity to grow and strive and become meaningful contributors to national development. We are one of the few countries in the region with a National Child Policy,” Webster-Roy said.