Webster-Roy: Gov’t reviewing its caregivers programme

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Webster-Roy: Gov’t reviewing its caregivers programme

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy (Gender and Child Affairs Division), has revealed that the Children’s Authority has conducted 85 forensic interviews.

Speaking in parliament on Friday, she said “If you know the forensic interviews, you know that means that something would have gone wrong. So again, I want to speak to those 85 persons who would have potentially interfered with 85 children, do better, do better.”

“What are you doing?” she queried.

Webster-Roy said the Children’s Authority also investigated 19 complaints against homes and suspended the operations of two in this fiscal year. The authority also licensed five children’s homes.

She added that 381 forensic medical examinations were conducted, as well as 1,780 clinical interviews, 621 psychological assessments, 548 general medical examinations and 233 new multi-disciplinary assessments.

The authority also received 530 children into residential care. Children’s homes provided care and accommodation for 622 children.

She added, “I often say when children end up by my ‘gate’, it’s because something went wrong. We need to look at the 622 families and ask them ‘what are you doing’?”

“We have to look at those communities and ask them, ‘how are we supporting our vulnerable families so that our children don’t end up in care of the state! It’s the right of a child to be in a loving stable home.”

She said several measures aligned with recommendations to improve the situation are already in the works, pushed by her division and the authority to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Webster-Roy also warned that “fly by night” baby care centres will be monitored “very, very, very closely.”

The minister said, “Even with all the best measures in place, you never know the heart of a man. We could screen all we want, train all we want but if somebody’s determined to be wicked and evil, they will be wicked and evil. It’s our duty to ensure continuous monitoring and evaluation,” she added.

She said government will be reviewing its caregivers programme, “As we understand there are some elements of the course that need strengthening to ensure when people begin work they’re doing that in the child’s best interest.”

“There are policies to protect children and efforts continue to monitor any gaps with the aim of filling them.”