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Gordon Harrison wants greater accountability in CPFSA

Published:Thursday | June 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Diahann Gordon Harrison

Children's advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison has said that there is need for greater accountability within the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), which would ensure that members of staff, especially, are held to a very high standard.

Responding to questions that were raised about accountability at a forum yesterday on Safety and Justice for Jamaican Children, Harrison said that it was after meeting with Rodje Malcolm, the executive director of Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), that she was made aware of some of the abuse being meted out to children by workers within the home.

The event was hosted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ).

"I believe that the CPFSA doing its own investigation when these things (breaches by staff members) come to the fore is one thing, but if you really want an independent view, you can't necessarily investigate yourself," she told The Gleaner.

Gordon Harrison also said that there were systemic gaps that made it hard to hold persons accountable.

"I am not sure if I can think of named cases or instances where persons who are employed in residential childcare facilities have been reported as having done any particular harm against a child while in care, and so there are some serious gaps," she said.

The children's advocate said that she was encouraged that there would be greater collaboration between her agency and the CPFSA and that matters would go beyond internal investigations.