Gov’t asks CPFSA CEO to step aside amid probe, damning report Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The embattled chief executive officer (CEO) of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, has been asked to step aside to facilitate an investigation into her conduct by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

This was disclosed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday by Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams.

The minster was speaking during a ministerial statement in which she referenced the contents of a damning report by the Office of Children’s Advocate (OCA), which details the relationship between Gage-Grey and Carl Robanske, head of the US-based organisation Embracing Orphans.

CEO of CPFSA Rosalee Gage-Grey (File photo)

The OCA’s probe followed a news report in March 2021 which revealed that Robankse, the executive director of Embracing Orphans, had his education certificate suspended in the United States after it was determined that he had sexually inappropriate exchanges with a minor.

The OCA said Gage-Grey failed in her administrative and moral duty to these former wards of the State who were based at the transition facility, The Father’s House, operated by Embracing Orphans.

“Her responses indicate that she is either unaware of, or has a reckless approach to the significant vulnerability which attaches not only to them when they are minors, (that is below 18 years) but also even after and during their transition out of the formal care system,” the report said.

In her statement, Williams pointed to the OCA’s report, which pointed to instances of deception on the part of Gage-Grey, including when she misled the minister during regular weekly meetings to believe that the CPFSA had ended its relationship with Embracing Orphans and Robanske.

Rather, when she told the minister that she had engaged the services of another entity — Jamaica Relief Ministry, an overseas mission that operates a children’s home in the western end of the island — she did not disclose that the entity had an ongoing relationship with Embracing Orphans.

The report also cited that while the wards of the state, all girls, should be at least 18 years old to be housed at The Father’s House, several minors were living there. They were reportedly being coached to not cooperate with the OCA’s investigation.

“The situation is untenable, it cannot be defended,” declared Williams while stating that she was “enraged”.

She said based on the report of the OCA, “it is not in the best interest of our children in State care for the CEO of the CPFSA to remain as head of agency while further investigations take place.

“And so, I call on her to step aside, at least while the Public Service Commission completes its deliberations,” Williams said.

“We have to send a clear signal of zero tolerance for the care of children,” she added.

The education and youth minister explained that in order for due process to take its course, the permanent secretary (acting) in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Maureen Dwyer, and the PSC, the constituted authority, is authorised to “assess these matters and make the right decision”.

“I’ve also forwarded the OCA’s report to the police for further investigation to see whether charges can be laid against anyone who’s found to have abused or facilitated the abuse of children,” said Williams.

“In plain and simple English, I was misled by the CEO of the CPFSA, by a failure to report facts to me despite the many times the CEO reported in our weekly meetings,” the minister told the House.

“We must take action that sends a clear message that those charged with the management and oversight of vulnerable children in the care of the state must do so with integrity,” Williams said as she lauded “those girls who had the courage to speak out”.