THE Children's Authority says two teenage girls who got pregnant while living at children's homes had not become impregnated by any staff member.
The statement on Monday came after Princes Town Barry Padarath told a UNC virtual briefing on Sunday that some children's homes housed pregnant girls.
"The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago notes recent concerns within the public domain about children residing at children’s homes who are pregnant.
"The authority wishes to advise the public that there are two children’s homes specifically designated for pregnant teens. It must be noted that the children were
already pregnant when they were brought to the attention of the authority for placement and the relevant police reports were made at that time."
While at these homes, the girls were given care and intervention to prepare them for motherhood, the statement said.
"Over the past eight years since the operationalisation of the authority, there have been two instances of girls who became pregnant while they were residents of children’s homes. During the authority’s investigation, it was determined that no staff member of the homes was responsible for the girls becoming pregnant. As is customary, the matters were reported to the police, who are conducting their investigation."
The authority said it does not manage the operations of children’s homes as the homes are run by the board of each residential facility.
"The authority, however, through its licensing and monitoring department, is responsible for the conduct of regular announced and unannounced monitoring visits at all children’s homes to ensure that they provide for the safety, security and welfare of the children in their care."
Saying child protection was everybody’s business, the authority said any suspicions of child abuse should be reported to its hotline at 996 or to the police at 999.
"The authority notes that the placement of children in institutional care is a last resort and it is working with partners in the child protection sector to strengthen family and community interventions, to limit the number of children who are received into care."