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Child protection agency probing abuse reports at boys' home

Published:Wednesday | April 14, 2021 | 12:35 PM
The facade of the rebuilt Clifton Boys’ Home in Darliston, Westmoreland.

A probe has been launched by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) into allegations of corporal punishment of wards of the State at the Clifton Boys’ Home in Westmoreland.

The agency says it received reports of alleged abuse of wards, which were reported to the police.

The police have since launched their own investigation into the matter.

“The agency takes a zero-tolerance approach to any and all forms of abuse, including corporal punishment at residential child care facilities. These institutions are safe havens for children where they can get the necessary support to overcome the circumstances which would have brought them into State care. We are reminding all management and staff within child care facilities of their duty of care to the children,” said Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the CPFSA, in a statement.

Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Robert Nesta Morgan, is sending a strong message to staff and management that breaches of the Child Care and Protection Act could result in revocation of their licence.

“Any staff or caregiver who in any way harms a child while in the care of the State will feel the full force of the law. These behaviours will not be accepted in the new child protection ecosystem we are building, where children are guaranteed a positive therapeutic experience while in our care,” Morgan said.

The CPFSA says it is working with the Board of Management of the home to ensure continuity of care.

Additionally, the agency says it has dispatched a team to assist with the operations of the home in the interim.

A team of clinicians from the agency’s Psychology Unit has also been dispatched to provide counselling support to the wards.

The agency awaits the outcome of the police’s investigation.

Clifton Boys’ Home was established in 1961 and is a private facility licensed for a capacity of 35 boys aged seven to 18 years.

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