‘We did our best’ - CDA says it is not to be blamed for child who escaped from State care and is now labeled a ‘dangerous criminal’
The Child Development Agency (CDA) is contending that a boy who ran away from a state facility where he was placed after his mother was found guilty of abusing him seven years ago went back to living with her after he absconded from the children's home.
The mother, whose story was highlighted in The Sunday Gleaner last month, has accused the Government of taking her son from her and not taking sufficient measures to prevent him from entering the criminal world, leading to him being wanted by the police.
According to Joan Brown*, she was made to pay a $150,000 fine after she was found guilty of child abuse. She had beaten her son with a wire because he had stolen from a neighbour's shop.
Brown said the beating was her way of trying to raise her son to be an upstanding citizen, but he was deemed a child in need of care and protection and was taken to a children's home.
He ran away from the home after a few weeks and Brown claimed she was unable to get the police to assist her in locating him.
She told our news team that recently, the police have been harassing her because her son, who is now 18-year-old and is wanted for questioning in connection with some serious crimes.
But the CDA says Brown has told only a part of the story as its investigations show that the boy ran away from the children's home on two occasions.
The CDA said the boy was found to be in the care of his mother and it intervened in 2012 to discuss his well-being and schedule a home visit to see how he was doing.
According to the CDA, it was confirmed during the visit that boy was with his mother, but then he ran away some time after.
"In 2013, further discussions were held between the CDA and Miss Brown* concerning the child's well-being. The CDA conducted counselling sessions with the child to ascertain whether he was willing to remain at home or have arrangements made for him. The child was then reintegrated with his mother in the same year," said the state agency.
The agency said its office provided a legal officer to represent the child in 2013 after he committed an offence and made sure he received ongoing counselling by clinical psychologists.
"However, based on his unsettled nature, intervention was not completed as he would not attend sessions planned to assist with his reformation.
"No further communication was received from the child's mother. The CDA later found out that he ran away from home and is being sought by the police," added the agency.
But Brown maintains that her son did not come and live with her after he ran away. She said she heard that he had come to her house to eat while she was away at work on a few occasions, but she has not seen him.
* Name changed on request.