Social Workers want mandatory background checks for persons interacting with vulnerable children
The Jamaica Association of Social Workers is calling for mandatory background checks or other due diligence processes for locals and foreign nationals who intend to have direct interactions with vulnerable groups including children.
The recommendation is one of four proposed by the group, and follows a report from the Office of the Children’s Advocate on the Child Protection and Family Services Agency and the Embracing Orphans and Carl Robanske.
Its reported that Robankse’s education licence was suspended in the United States in 2016 after he was found culpable of professional misconduct
The group says it’s aware of the findings in the OCA report and its first concern relates to the children and young persons whose violation was the antecedent for the report.
The social workers are hoping the authorities ensured that the children and young persons were provided with the supportive services needed to help them to recover from the experience and to move on to live productive lives.
The group is also calling for a serious analysis of the specific areas of the existing mechanism that were deemed inadequate and contributed to any breach.
It says the breaches identified in the OCA’s report are egregious and require swift action in fulfillment of the government’s commitment to the rights of children.
Other recommendations include strengthening the CPFSA’s internal policies, procedures and practices in safeguarding children, holding social workers and others to professional standards, including enacting legislative and other regulatory frameworks, and making amendments to the child care and protection act to allow for the children’s registry to be used as a source for background checks to complement the use of the sex offenders registry.
The association says the children’s registry, established by the mandatory reporting framework enshrined in the CCPA is a wealth of resources, of which the government of Jamaica is yet to take advantage.
The JASW says it continues to take a position of no tolerance to any arrangement that put client populations at risk for any further harm in the carrying out of social work duties.