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Sunday 21 July 2019
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Children’s Authority warns against fakes

CHILDREN’S AUTHORITY chairman Hanif Benjamin is warning members of the public to be wary of people claiming to be from the authority as reports of someone claiming to be a board member has surfaced.

Benjamin told Newsday that someone using what appears to be a fake Facebook profile was trying to get information on children who may be vulnerable by claiming to sit on the board of the authority.

The matter has been referred to the police for investigation.

“The Children’s Authority of TT advises the public that there are persons utilising social media, claiming that they are affiliated with the organisation,“ Benjamin said.

“As a result, the authority has sent the information to police to investigate the matter.”

The post, in which the person claimed to work for the board, was made by two good Samaritans trying to help a single mother and her children. Photos of the home they live in were posted as well as a short video clip of the environment.

Benjamin issued a disclaimer, stating no one with the name used on the profile has ever held any position on the authority’s board. “In one instance a Facebook profile of Michelle Jones is soliciting information about a child protection matter from visitors to her page. Please note that Michelle Jones has never been and is not a board member or an employee of the authority.”

In the post, “Jones” commented, “Furthermore, as a member on the board of the children’s authority, we will be taking action to remove those children from her care because they should not have to endure these circumstances, it is time to stop this nonsense and wake up. Times too hard.”

“Where on the Eastern Main Road is she located? We need to send a caseworker immediately,” Jones writes several times.

In another comment, Jones continues, “Thank you, you took the words out of my mouth. She playing in her a** and need a good cuta** and jail.”

But Benjamin said the authority has never operated in that manner to solicit information.

“The public is cautioned not to provide information via this means if they are concerned about the treatment of a child. In fact, the authority at all times guides persons with information or concerns about a child to call its Hotlines at 996 or 800-2014 or the police at 999. These are the only official numbers and the means by which the authority receives information in a confidential manner,” he said.

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