MEC Patricia De Lille Says Weekend Report that She Issued Instruction for 4 Children to be Removed from a Child Care Centre, is Based On 'Lies'
Social Development Minister Patricia de Lille this morning phoned Eleanor Bester, the coordinator of Heaven's Nest, a child care organisation in Ottery, 'to set the record straight' over the circumstances surrounding reports that staffers from Child Welfare and her Department had removed 4 children from her care in the past week and a half.
The story, which appeared in the Sunday Argus yesterday, says -
"...over a week ago social welfare staffers arrived at Heaven's Nest with an order from Social Development MEC Patricia de Lille to remove three children, said... [Bester]."
'I called Ms Bester this morning and she insisted that this is what the staffers from Child Welfare said. Apparently they said I had instructed one of their organisation's managers to instruct them to remove the 3 children,' Ms De Lille says.
'Our investigation has so far revealed that certain Department officials told the child welfare manager in a recent meeting to remove the children.
'Ms Bester then told me that although the 3 children were returned last Monday after a weekend away, an employee from one of our local Department of Social Development offices, whose details she furnished, arrived at Heaven's Nest to remove another child, apparently also on my instructions.
'I then called the employee, who said he told Ms Bester the instruction had come from "the top",' says De Lille.
'I want to state very clearly that anyone that told Ms Bester that this instruction came from me, or "the top" is a liar. To deal with children in this way, by simply rocking up at a child care centre and using my name, instead of providing written proof with proper reasons, to get someone to cooperate with you is disgusting.
'It is also an insult to my strong belief in people-centred development, where we consult with those that are caring for our children at ground level,' De Lille says.
'This is unacceptable behaviour and I have instructed the HOD to institute a full investigation into how this happened and to provide me with the assurance that it will not happen again.
'I have also assured Eleanor Bester that I have launched an investigation into her claim that she has been trying to register Heaven's Nest for the past 6 years. If our investigation confirms what she is saying more disciplinary action will follow,' says De Lille.
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