Minister of Gender and Child Affairs Ayanna Webster Roy says an independent investigative team has been appointed to investigate reports of child abuse at Children’s Homes, Rehabilitation Centres and other institutions which provide residential care for children.
In a press release issued this evening, the Minister stated that the investigation began on July 5th and the team is chaired by retired Appeal Court Judge, Justice Judith Jones. The following is a press release from the Minister of Gender and Child Affairs Ayanna Webster:
The Honourable Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister with responsibility for Child Affairs, has appointed an Independent Team to investigate reports of child abuse at Children’s Homes, Rehabilitation Centres and other institutions which provide residential care for children. The Team will also investigate the incidence or situations of children absconding from such facilities. The Investigation commenced on July 5th, 2021.
The Government notes its responsibility associated with the care, protection and supervision of children as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and embodied in the Package of Children’s Legislation of 2015. The Minister has noted that, while there exists policy and procedures for recording, monitoring and treating with incidents of child abuse, it continues, with recent allegations in the media of abuse to children housed at several Children’s Homes and a Child Support Centre.
Concerted efforts must be made to eliminate its occurrence at these child care facilities. She indicated that, “As Minister, it is my duty to seek the best interest of children and to do all that is possible to ensure that all boys and girls are happy, healthy and confident that their rights are respected, protected and promoted to facilitate their holistic development towards achieving their fullest potential as active contributors to society”, as outlined in the National Child Policy, found at: www.opm-gca.gov.tt/National-Child-Policy.
The Government continues to establish and put into operation relevant institutional and other arrangements to address the needs of children and, in particular, arrangements to ensure the care and protection of those children who are Wards of the State and in need of care and placed at residential child care facilities.
The Minister has directed the Children’s Authority to work with the Child Protection Unit of the Police Service to pay special attention to the issue of child abuse in the exercise of its functions, particularly the licencing, monitoring and evaluation exercise of Children’s Homes, Rehabilitation Centres, Child Support Centres and any other institution under the remit of the Authority.
The Team conducting the investigation is Chaired by retired Appeal Court Judge, Justice Judith Jones and comprises:
Mr Lawrence J. Arjoon, Child/Youth NGO Representative
Cdr Lorenzo P. Chariandy Rt., Youth Programming
Ms Aisha Corbie, Clinical Psychologist
Dr Mona Dillon, Social Worker
Mr Aaron George, Youth Representative
Ms Claire E. Gittens Rt., Social Worker
Mr Marcus V. Kissoon, Researcher: Gender and Development
Mr Keshan Latchman, Clinical Psychologist
Dr Stacy-Ann Phillip, Child Psychiatrist
The investigation will take place over a period of four months and will involve interviews, document reviews, submissions and site visits to various facilities and organisations servicing children.