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Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Manager assigned to troubled schoolgirl

Deputy Director of the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CATT), Darlene Smith, has intervened in the case involving a 15-year-old runaway schoolgirl who has refused to return to her home in south Trinidad. In an interview with Newsday last week, the teenager appealed for help.

A social worker has been assigned and was expected to meet yesterday evening with the teenager at the home of a Good Samaritan, who has been seeking help for her.

It was only on Monday, that the legislation of the Children’s Authority Act (Chap. 46:10), The Adoption of Children Act (No 67 of 2000), The Children’s Community Residences, Foster Care, and Nurseries Act (No 65 of 2000) and The Children’s Act (No. 12 of 2012) was proclaimed by President Anthony Carmona.

The plight of the teenager who police identified as a “habitual runaway” was highlighted in Newsday. In the interview, she explained that she ran away from home on May 6, and was found on Mother’s Day by police officers who took her to the San Fernando Police Station and detained her.

At about 2 am on Monday, fearing that she will be returned to juvenile prison from where she was released last November after spending eight months, she decided to jump to freedom. She jumped through a window at the police station where she was held.

She escaped from the station by jumping through a window and has “kept low” since. The girl has a history of problems with relatives, and did not want to return to the family home. She sought help from officials at a church in south Trinidad who turned her away telling her they did not want to become involved as she was a minor who had “escaped” from the law.

Yesterday, Newsday was contacted by officials of the Ministry of Gender Youth and Child Development informing that CATT had received a report on the matter.

“Her case has been entered under the children’s protection management system, and they have assigned her case to one of their managers for investigation,” the official told Newsday.


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