From Syria straight to the Children’s Authority Centre.
That’s was what awaited two children—returning from Syria— after the High Court, yesterday granted the Children’s Authority an order to have the boys made wards of the court.
The Authority will be assessing their health, development and the way in which they would be treated.
The court also ordered that the boys will be closely monitored by the Authority for an initial period of six months “to determine the additional needs” the children will require “subsequent to their placement with their mother.”
National Security Minister Stuart Young told reporters yesterday that Government was moving to get the court order to have the children assessed on their return from abroad.
The boys age 11 and seven were taken to Syria by their father, an Isis soldier who has reportedly been killed. The International Red Cross had told Government that the boys who were at the Roj detention camp in Syria were T&T nationals. Their mother went to Syria (with UK assistance) and reunited with the boys earlier this week.
Young said Government authorities and security agencies would be on hand to meet them on arrival. The government had planned to ask the children’s mother for consent to have the boys assessed, he added.
Young noted that the Islamic State (Isis) subjected youngsters to “training” to become fighters and assessment would include if any sort of training occurred.
After Young spoke, the High Court issued a statement that it had granted the assessment order.
The assessment will be done at the Children’s Authority assessment centre. It entails a medical, social, psychological, psycho-social, psycho-educational and psychiatric examination of the boys, their parents and grandparents.
The order allows the Children's Authority to file and serve supplemental affidavits “as may be necessary having regard to the findings of any continuing investigation and any results from “the order.” The court also ordered the media not to publish the identities or photographs of the boys.
Young said Government has been working through agencies like the Red Cross to obtain information on T&T nationals in similar situations since 130 nationals had left T&T between 2012-14 for Syria.
He could not say how many were killed and how many T&T children are in the Middle East.
But he said, for instance, there has been information on a family, mother and daughters, detained in Iraq and there was no word on whether the father of the family had been executed.
Family patriarch Imam Nazim Mohammed has appealed for Government help to get them home since he has about seven young great-grands among them.
Young said all war zone returnees are monitored by security agencies.