The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry on Thursday (9 July) heard evidence from former child care and fostering officer, Mr David Castledine.
Counsel to the Inquiry, Mr Patrick Sadd, took him through his statement starting with his early career as a qualified social worker in Leicester. He took up a post as a Child Care Officer in Jersey in 1974 and worked in a variety of roles until retirement in 2005. He then worked part-time for a further five years as a Child Care Officer doing matrimonial and out-of-hours work.
Mr Castledine described the day-to-day activities of the six-strong Child Care Officer team during the 1970s and 1980s and compared the organisation to that of Leicester. He spoke about the relationship between Children’s Services and the Honorary Police, staff training, private foster arrangements, child welfare management and the admissions process for children going into care. Mr Castledine also gave evidence about various children’s homes, his role as the island’s first fostering officer from the 1980s and his time as a foster parent.
Mr Sadd also asked Mr Castledine about a number of specific cases and reports of abuse within the care system.
Earlier, the Panel ruled that a document containing details of a complaint against a former colleague of Mr Castledine fell within the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and could be put to him for his response. The ruling can be read here.
Later, the Inquiry heard evidence from Mrs Pauline Vautier about her experiences working for Children’s Services between 1978-2009. She told the Panel that she undertook several placements with Children’s Services in 1975 in order to gain the experience needed to qualify as a social worker. She spent the next three years gaining experience during holidays before graduating from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1978.
Mrs Vautier then took up a role as Child Care Officer with Children’s Services. She described her work which she said had spanned the history of Children’s Services; during which time she had seen a real change in child services provision. She told the Inquiry that things needed to change and she described some of the major developments in the child protection team, fostering, adoption, supervision and training and the introduction of good protocols and procedures. She added that for change to happen there had to be a willingness on the part of the politicians to effect change quickly – and this had not always been a priority for Jersey’s politicians.
Transcripts and supporting documents will be available in due course.
Public hearings resume tomorrow (Friday 10 June) at 1000. See Timetable for updates.