Published 13th April 2017, 3:27pm
The Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports is aware of the ongoing social media conversation regarding care standards at the Frances Bodden Children’s Home. We are constrained from discussing the specific details on this matter due to our professional and ethical obligations in relation to maintaining confidentiality, mutual trust and upholding the values and reputation of the services.
Children who live at the residential facilities operated by the CAYS Foundation are under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services. Many of these children come into care having complex mental health, psychosocial, emotional and behavioural difficulties as a result of having experienced trauma, abuse, neglect and the uncertainty that comes from living in difficult circumstances. Such exposure to risk and stressful family events often affect their early development, behaviour, confidence and ability to attach positively to adults.
Our Ministry has a responsibility to provide quality accommodation for these children and to ensure that they live and grow up in a warm, safe and stable environment. We also seek to ensure that they are cared for by caregivers that can meet their needs for nurturance and support, and provide them with encouragement to achieve their potential and grow into confident young people and adults.
As ‘corporate parent’ with a duty to the children and young people in care, we also recognise that no one specialist service or agency can by itself provide all the support needed by them. Key to ensuring their welfare, wellbeing and securing our children’s positive development is the working relationship which is established between the Department, multi-agency professionals, and the staff of the CAYS Foundation. Together, we share responsibility in the practical parenting and care planning for these children and in ensuring that there is appropriate structure, boundary setting and co-ordinated interventions that addresses their holistic needs and supports them to achieve the best possible outcomes in life. We also welcome the involvement of individuals in our community who seek to work with us to ensure the right support and opportunities are made available to these children and that they have the same opportunities as their peers to enable them to fulfil their potential.
The Ministry of CAYS and Department of Children and Family Services is committed to extending every effort in ensuring robust safeguarding arrangements are in place for all children and in monitoring the standards of care at the residential facilities operated by the CAYS Foundation. We set high expectations for delivering and supervising the care of the children and young people in our facilities and encourage them to have high expectations of themselves. We want them to have a sense of achievement and security, and we guide them towards looking forward to a future where they will be valued and involved citizens who are economically independent and able to contribute positively to our community.
Our aim is to continually improve children’s experience in the ‘in care’ system. We seek to do so through reviews and setting of best practice standards of services, defining safeguarding responsibilities and monitoring to ensure rigour to the delivery of outcomes within core cost specifications. Families and members of our community are highly valued as key partners in this continuous care improvement process. We count on them in helping to identify concerns and in helping us address the myriad of problems that children ‘in care’ face. We take responsibility for fostering an accountable safeguarding culture that values the voice of children in the identification and resolution of problems, encourages constructive engagement with family members, professionals and volunteers, and where we work diligently together to overcome systemic barriers to achieving better outcomes for children.
We are grateful that so many of you share our concerns for the welfare of our children. The Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports recognises that a considerable amount of work is still required to improve the whole safeguarding system. We continue to work towards ensuring that we deliver excellent outcomes for children who are placed under our care.