Wed | Jun 26, 2019

Holness requests review of safety policies at children’s homes and places of safety

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 4:46 PM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asked for a review of safety arrangements at children’s homes and places of safety to be conducted.

This comes after a fire last night destroyed the Walker's Place of Safety on Lyndhurst Crescent, St Andrew, leaving two female wards dead.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the fire department.

Prime Minister Holness visited the facility this afternoon where he expressed sadness at the loss of life and displacement of the other 34 wards and staff members.

He says the government takes seriously its duty to all children, especially those in the care of the state.

Holness says the review will determine, among other things, safety guidelines at homes and places of safety.


Prime Minister, Andrew Holness

The Prime Minister says the government will continue to provide assistance to the wards and their caregivers.

State Minister in the Ministry of Youth, Floyd Green, says the ministry has identified accommodations for them and they will be relocated today.

Green says the main focus is to provide counselling support.

Following the fire, the wards and the staff were temporally moved to a nearby church.

Meanwhile, Regional Director for the Child Protection and Family Services Agency’s South East Region, Robert Williams, says the staff at the place of safety acted in accordance with the established emergency plan for childcare facilities.

Speaking with The Gleaner this morning Williams said the home was equipped with smoke detectors and when the alarm went off the staff went into action.

He said the staff did their best to secure the children.