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Digital copy of Exhibit AS30: Witness Statement of Dorothy Woods to the Inquiry providing an account of her experiences prior to and during her employment with Children's Services. [Some details redacted]. Used as evidence in relation to Anton Skinner's second Witness Statement to the Inquiry dated 18 February 2016, [C/D/AW2/B2/15/WS000734].
August 10th 2015 - August 10th 2015
|Scope and Content|
Provides details of early life and career in the United Kingdom, mentioning qualification as a teacher prior to training as a social worker. Discusses early experiences in child social work as facilitated by Durham Social Services Department Assistant Area Controller Robert Woods. Refers to training and placements, mentioning Newcastle upon Tyne, Middlesbrough, and Broadmoor Hospital, prior to qualification as a social worker in 1977 and subsequent employment by Durham Social Service and Gateshead Social Services until 1980. Comments on reconstruction of social services in the United Kingdom following the recommendations of Frederick Seebohm and the Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services' report published in 1968, and the impact of this restructuring upon Dorothy Woods' aspirations to work in children's services. Applied for the post of Child Care Officer with Children's Services in Jersey during 1979, and provides details of interview process, including visit to Haut de la Garenne. Refers to concerns regarding care provided at Haut de la Garenne, and decision to refuse the offer of the Child Care Officer post when offered. Refers to subsequent meeting with [Children's Officer] Charles Smith and [Senior Child Care Officer] Anton Skinner regarding the reasons for Dorothy Woods turning down the post, and decision taken by Dorothy Woods to accept the position following the meeting. Provides details of early experiences as a Child Care Officer in Jersey, naming the Children's Officer, Senior Child Care Officers, Child Care Officers, Child Care Assistants, and School Welfare Officer, and describing responsibilities and duties as per Dorothy Woods' role as a Child Care Officer. Recalls positive working relationship with other health and social care professionals, as well as [States of Jersey] Police and the judiciary. Recalls visit of David Lambert and Elizabeth Wilkinson to Jersey during a review of Children's Services, and mentions recollection of speaking to the visitors. Describes lack of state welfare system in Jersey excluding welfare provided by individual parishes, and the impact this form of welfare system had upon families on the island. Recalls visiting children at Haut de la Garenne, and details ongoing concerns over the care provided by Haut de la Garenne as an institution. Refers to concern over the use of the detention rooms at Haut de la Garenne. Refers to Kent County Council Development Officer John Pilling's report on Haut de la Garenne and Les Chênes [Residential School], noting agreement with John Pilling's analysis of Haut de la Garenne's deficiencies, as well as the views of Lambert and Wilkinson. Comments on realisation that the model of Haut de la Garenne would not change, and subsequent concentration on moving children away from Haut de la Garenne to foster or adoption placements, or to their families. Discussses Jim Thomson's role at Haut de la Garenne, and his assessment of problems facing Haut de la Garenne into the 1980s. Discusses working atmosphere within Children's Services, and ease with which colleagues could discuss matters at hand. Refers to concepts of case conferences and six monthly reviews for children in care. Refers to staff training and development, for both non residential and residential staff. Provides details of specific cases, mentioning a teenage girl who became pregnant, and discussions as to whether her pregnancy should be terminated for the teenager's well being. Notes that contraception was difficult to obtain for teenage girls during 1981. Refers to decision regarding termination ultimately falling to the Children's Sub-Committee, and then the Education Committee. Recalls methods of record keeping employed by Children's Services. Recalls restructuring of the Children's Department over the 1980s and 1990s, noting the appointment of a Fostering Officer, improvement in fostering services, introduction of an adoption service, increase in the number of staff, and moves taken to close down Haut de la Garenne. Refers to retirement of Charles Smith in 1986, and promotion of Anton Skinner pending a two year secondment to Slough Social Services, during which time Home Office inspector Terence Strettle assumed the role of Children's Officer. Provides details relating to the establishment of the Child Protection Team, referring to interest in providing support to children and families affected by child sexual abuse. Comments on successful model of the Child Protection Team, combining expertise from [States of Jersey] Police and Children's Services. Refers to emotional and physical abuse by Alan and Jane Maguire towards children in their care at Blanche Pierre Family Group Home, and disclosures made to Dorothy Woods by two members of Blanche Pierre staff during an Open University training course for residential staff. Met Anton Skinner following disclosures from the Blanche Pierre staff, and was told that Anton Skinner would deal with the matter. Recalls apparent inaction following Dorothy Woods' complaint. Comments on support provided by Dorothy Woods to the members of Blanche Pierre staff who had reported the abuse. Provides details of further involvement in the Blanche Pierre case when one of the members of staff informed Dorothy Woods that a Blanche Pierre resident had run away to the member of staff's house. Provides details of events following, including the departure of Alan and Jane Maguire from the Family Group Home, Jane Maguire's employment as a Family Support Worker, and the fostering of a Blanche Pierre resident by Alan and Jane Maguire. Recalls police investigation into complaints of abuse made against Alan and Jane Maguire, beginning in 1997, and interview by Dylan Southern in 1999 regarding a report on Alan and Jane Maguire. Attaches statement made to States of Jersey Police in 2008 as part of Operation Rectangle. Provides details of career during the later 1990s, and qualification as a Play Therapist prior to a reorganisation of the Childen's Department, and Dorothy Woods' transfer to working with children in care. Refers to ill health and decision to leave Children's Services in 2007. Comments on evidence previously provided to the Inquiry, referring to allegations of abuse made against Jim Thomson, an incident between a former Les Chênes resident and Roy Valentine, and an individual's relationship with his mother. Refers to differences in training provided to non residential and residential workers, and expresses thoughts relating to the progression of the Inquiry. Discusses positive aspects of the Jersey child care system, and the positive outcomes for many of the children previously in care.
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