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Digital copy of the Witness Statement of Anton Skinner to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences working within the Children's Department between 1973 and 1995. [Some details redacted].
July 24th 2015 - July 24th 2015
|Scope and Content|
Provides details of background, mentioning education at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic, return to Jersey, and employment with Children's Services in the capacities of Child Care Officer, Senior Child Care Officer, and Children's Officer. Provides details of the history of the Jersey Care System, referring to practices from the 18th Century onwards, the establishment of children's homes for boys, girls, and infants. Describes role as Child Care Officer, referring to the children under the care of Children's Services. Comments on methods of placing children in care, mentioning the Royal Court, Juvenile Courts, care orders, fit person orders, and voluntary admissions. Relays history of Haut de la Garenne, and comments on management, staff, care provided, corporal punishment, behaviour, abscondence, detention rooms, and role of the State. Discusses the model of the Family Group Homes, noting responsibility of the States for many of the failures associated with the model. Refers to closure of the final family group homes by Terry Strettle and Anton Skinner. Recalls research for and publication of the Lambert and Wilkinson Report, mentioning staff development, the inadequancy of Haut de la Garenne, and non accidental injuries and child abuse procedures. Recalls becoming the Children's Officer following the retirement of previous Children's Officer Charles Smith, following secondement to Berkshire Social Services. Refers to professional difficulties between Anton Skinner and Director of Education John Rodhouse. Discusses new training opportunities available to staff through a partnership with the National Children's Home. Refers to the closure of Haut de la Garenne, following a recommendation by [David] Lambert and [Elizabeth] Wilkinson in their 1981 Report. Notes replacement of the functions provided by Haut de la Garenne by Heathfield Children's Home, La Préférence Children's Home, and Les Chênes Residential School. Details developments in child abuse procedures, mentioning the establishment of the Child Protection Team, investigations of reports of abuse, prosecution of cases, and dealing with complaints against staff. Refers to Blanche Pierre Family Group Home, mentioning allegations of abuse by Alan and Jane Maguire, the decision to foster a child out to Alan and Jane Maguire, and later internal investigation into the conduct of Alan and Jane Maguire. Comments on a member of Heathfield Children's Home staff alleged to have sexually abused a Heathfield resident. Discusses political interest and involvement in Children's Services, noting that the reverse could be argued to have been the case. Discusses allegations of cover-ups, noting suggestions made by Stuart Syvret, and the role of the Crown Officers in investigating allegations as opposed to Children's Services. Refers to the shredding of documents by Children's Services in a bid to secure more space for future documentation produced regarding children in care. Provides details of later career, mentioning role as the Director of Community and Social Services, Deputy Chief Executive of Health and Social Services, acting Chief Executive of Health and Community Services, and the Director of Jersey Focus prior to retirement. Refers to the Police investigation [Operation Rectangle], beginning in 2007, and abuse revealed to the public. Suggests lessons to be learned for the future of the care of children by Social Services, mentioning the potential for ciminal prosecution, establishment of a Children's Minister, appointment and training of independent visitors to children in care, developments of positive strategies for change, and investment in services. [For Exhibits [AS]1 to [AS]29 as referred to in this Witness Statement, see C/D/AW2/A7/15/WD007092/1 to C/D/AW2/A7/15/WD007092/29].
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1 pdf file
|Level of description|
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