Children’s Advocate report sent to the police

Screenshot 2023 01 15 At 12.37.24 Pm
Jamaican children. Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Office of the Children Advocate Twitter.

The report from the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) on the questionable relationship between the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) and Embracing Orphans/Carl Robanske has been forwarded to the police for further investigations. News reports reveal that this is to ascertain whether charges can be laid against anyone, who is found to have abused or facilitated the abuse of children.

According to the Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, while delivering a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Jan.10), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, has been asked to step aside. “Based on the report from the OCA it is not in the best interest of our children in State care for the CEO of the CPFSA to remain as head of agency while further investigations take place”, Williams said. “So, I call on her to step aside, at least while the Public Service Commission completes its deliberations… it is only decent for that to happen,” she added.

The report followed public revelations in March 2021 that Carl Robanske, founder and CEO of Embracing Orphans, had his teaching licence suspended in Washington due to inappropriate conduct with a minor. The suspension of the teaching licence occurred in 2014, while the lease between the entities for the transitional facility, called Father’s House, dates back to 2011.

Minister Williams told the House that when they learned of the suspension of Robanske’s licence through the media in March 2021, she gave an “unambiguous directive” to the CEO of the CPFSA to sever its partnership and collaborative work with Embracing Orphans/ Carl Robanske. Embracing Orphans had a longstanding relationship with CPFSA to provide transitional facilities for young girls preparing to leave state care.

Minister Williams also wrote to the OCA to determine whether Robanske had had any inappropriate contact with children in Jamaica. She said the OCA reported that attempts were made to frustrate its investigations into the matter. The entity recommended that a named manager and house mother should be reassigned “as they have been actively reenforcing to the girls that they should not cooperate and further, that the instruction originated from the CEO of the CPFSA”.

Minister Williams noted that the OCA investigation lays bare the many different points of contact that Robanske had with the girls at Father’s House physically and virtually. “The Government has taken the first steps that it can take. The situation is untenable, it cannot be defended. At the same time, I acknowledge that there has to be due process. There are two offices, that of the Permanent Secretary and the Public Service Commission that are the constituting authorities to assess these matters and make the right decision,” she pointed out.

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