Social service worker chastised for ‘unlawfully’ removing children
The Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) plans to call for legislation to protect social service workers after an employee of the Social Services department was detained for contempt of court.
Social Services worker Ellise Seymour, attached to the Child Welfare Protection Unit (CWPU), was taken into custody on Wednesday for giving directives for two children to be removed from the custody of their maternal grandmother to their paternal grandmother after mediating in a custody battle with the children’s parents.
Magistrate Carla Turnquest, however, said that the actions by the social worker were “improper” and the department was conducting a “frolic of their own.” She ordered that the children be returned to the custody of their mother, but the children could not be located and the Magistrate said that the actions of the Social Services Department were an “embarrassment.”
Attorney Ramona Farquharson –Seymour who represented the mother of the children, said the children had no contact with their mother since July, due to the actions of the Social Services Department.
The children were later presented in court and returned to their mother. Magistrate Turnquest cautioned employees of the Social Services Department and released the social worker in question, referring the matter to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, social workers gathered outside court calling for better protection of social workers. BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson said he hopes to have dialogue with the government for amendments to legislation to be made.