The Child Protection and Family Services Agency, CPFSA, has launched an investigation into allegations that wards of the State at the Clifton Boys’ Home in Westmoreland are being physically abused.

The Agency says it has received reports of alleged abuse of wards.

The incidents of alleged abuse were reported to the Police who’ve since launched its own investigation into the matter.

Tauna Thomas reports:

The CPFSA in a statement says the agency takes a zero-tolerance approach to any and all forms of abuse including corporal punishment at residential child care facilities. It says 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.

Chief Executive Officer, CPFSA,  Rosalee Gage-Grey says they’re reminding all management and staff within child care facilities of their duty of care to the children.

Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Robert 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 according to section 49(3).

He says 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.

The State Minister says these behaviors will not be accepted in the new child protection ecosystem they’re building, where children are guaranteed a positive therapeutic experience while in state care.

The CPFSA says it’s working with the Board of Management of the home to ensure continuity of care. In addition to this, the CPFSA 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 counseling support to the wards.

The agency says it awaits the outcome of the police’s investigation. The Clifton Boys’ Home was established in 1961, and is a private facility licensed for a capacity of 35 boys aged 7 to 18 years old.