January trial for DCFS staff assault charge

  • Kennette Robinson, the assistant director at the Department of Child and Family Services (File photograph)

    Kennette Robinson, the assistant director at the Department of Child and Family Services (File photograph)

The assistant director of the Department of Child and Family Services is to stand trial over allegations she assaulted a teenage girl who refused to board a flight to the United States.

Kennette Robinson, 51, was charged last Thursday in Magistrates’ Court with assault and mistreatment of a child.

She denied both offences and the case was adjourned until January 13.

Ms Robinson is alleged to have assaulted the 17-year-old at the LF Wade International Airport on May 8 this year.

The girl claimed she was attacked by Ms Robinson when she complained she did not want to be sent to an overseas secure treatment centre.

Three sources told The Royal Gazette the youngster was being forced to return to the institution as part of the department’s psychoeducational programme, which is for children deemed to have problems which cannot be tackled on the island.

One source, who spoke to the girl, said the teenager was at the same US centre earlier but told DCFS staff she did not want to go back because it was “horrific”.

The source added: “She is not even allowed to whistle, hum or sing.”

The Government refused to say in May if Ms Robinson, who was acting head of the DCFS for a period of time last year while director Alfred Maybury was under investigation, was suspended or if it had launched its own inquiry into the alleged assault.

The DCFS’s policy on staff under investigation requires them to be placed on administrative leave and to have no contact with child clients until the inquiry has ended.

Ms Robinson was at work as recently as November 29, when she e-mailed a reporter at the Gazette to confirm receipt of a public access to information request for the Child Care Placement Board.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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