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Caregiver Charged Following Assault Allegations

Media Release
16 April 2004

Caregiver Charged Following Assault Allegations

A Levin Family Home caregiver has been charged with assault following a complaint from a young person in care.

Child, Youth and Family became aware of alleged physical abuse at the Family Home on March 25. To ensure that the children’s lives suffered minimal disruption and that their safety could be assured, the caregivers were asked to leave the home the following day pending investigation into the allegations.

Levin Police were verbally advised on March 26 that the allegations had been received and that social workers were interviewing the children. Written referrals were made to Police on April 1 and an arrest was made on April 15.

Regional Manager Bev Markham said Child, Youth and Family had taken immediate steps to ensure the safety of children in the family home.

“As soon as we received the allegations we acted, with our focus being on the safety of the children. Our primary focus will continue to be on the children,” Mrs Markham said.

“In line with our practice policies and protocols for any allegations of abuse, we notified police immediately and are working with police on our respective investigation processes.”

The family home was due to close this month for refurbishment so alternative arrangements outside the home have now been made for the four young people who had been residing there.

The Levin Family Home is a six bed home for children and young people who have challenging needs and for whom Child, Youth and Family has not been successful in finding long-term placements. Family Home caregivers live in a Child, Youth and Family-owned home and operate in a family-like environment to provide for the day to day care of young people.

The Family Home caregivers – a husband and wife - had been at the home since mid-2000. The female carer who has been charged had previously been a social worker.

“Child, Youth and Family follows careful processes to vet Family Home Caregivers, including interviews, reference checks and police checks,“ Mrs Markham said.

“Family Home Caregivers often have to deal with young people with difficult behaviours so when interviewing prospective caregivers Child, Youth and Family looks for attributes such as resilience, the ability to work with vulnerable children and young people, an appreciation of the impacts on young people of being placed away from their families and the ability to work in a team.”

“Caregivers are very valuable and the role they are asked to perform is a difficult one,” Mrs Markham said.

“While a range of allegations are made against caregivers from time to time, Child, Youth and Family treats seriously all complaints and any allegation of serious assault is reported to police under Child Abuse Team and Sexual Abuse Team (CAT/SAT) protocols.”

Child, Youth and Family is unable to make further comment in relation to the allegations while the matter is before the court.


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