Pointing fingers won’t help – Human Services Director responds to Milan’s death

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Pointing fingers won’t help – Human Services Director responds to Milan’s death
Human Services Director Elizabeth Lewis
Human Services Director Elizabeth Lewis
Human Services Director Elizabeth Lewis

The Human Services Department has responded to criticisms over it’s alleged failure to take action in the case of an abused four-year-old child Milan Ferdinand, who died recently.

Director Elizabeth Lewis said her department did receive one report of abuse for Milan and acted on it. According to her, Milan was examined by a medical doctor, but at that time the issue was “not deemed serious.”

Lewis said the department never received any other reports regarding the toddler.

“Pointing fingers at Human Services and the police, and removing ourselves is not going to help. There are several Milans going through the same situation and people must respond,” she asserted.

The director said Millan’s unfortunate death should be used as a reminder that “child protection is everyone’s business” and that “corporal punishment must come to an end”.

A post mortem examination revealed that Milan died as a result of severe brain damage and head injury due to blunt force trauma. Also noted were multiple blunt force traumas all over the body.

Lewis said she finds the situation “extremely disturbing”, stating that the loss of a child in any way is something that hurts many persons.

“This case is certainly not unique to Saint Lucia because at Human Services we get several reports and we work with families regarding issues of physical abuse of children,” she noted.

In defending her staff, Lewis said social workers work extremely hard to ensure that children are protected and cases of corporal punishment are dealt with efficiently.

She said: “Corporal punishment is embedded in our culture and so for many of us it is not abuse. We have to reflect as a society as how do we protect our children.”

Lewis argued that everything should not be left up to the Human Services Department to do, but everyone has a role to play in ensuring that these cases are reported.

“Certainly when the parents fail, somebody, somewhere must step in. It doesn’t always have to be the social worker or Human Services. We have schools, churches and family members,” she added.

Milan’s relatives have claimed that more than one report was made with Human Services and no one acted on those reports. They even said the social worker who handled the case apologised.

Millan reportedly died Friday, Oct. 9, about five days after he was admitted to Victoria Hospital.

He was in the care of his father and step-mother, at the time of his death.

(2)(20)

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78 COMMENTS

  1. Pointing fingers will not help; several heads rolling, the minister's and the director's most definitely would.

    (5)(0)

  2. SLP from top to bottom is made up of well-dressed jackass talking incompetents. Reactive from their toes right up to their dilated nose holes when they are shooting their customary shaayte, ministers and all do not do earn or deserve their pay. The minister should be sent packing. The Director should be sent to do a more compatible prison warden job in Bordelais. That would help to give us the promised SLP better days.

    (5)(0)

  3. When is a situation deemed serious? Is it only upon death? It's deemed serious at first doctor's visit or before.

    So I guess now it is deemed serious. Society has failed you Milan. May you rest in eternal peace.

    (5)(0)

  4. Honestly everytime I just hear about Mrs Lewis running her behind it sickens me. I know of a situation just like that one and thankfully the children are still able to survive. I made a report to the police n was told to take it up with human services. After myself n other ppl who knew about the situation made so many visits and calls to human services they did nothing. One of the social workers made an excuse for the abusive parents behavior. Up to this present year I contacted human services again. I was told they can't find the report I need to make another report then they will process it. Who the hell does that. The other ppl who knows about the situation eventually gave up because it is useless to depend on human services to help out. If human services isnt serving their purpose then Yall have jobs in vain. Is because ppl need help they come to you'll but you'll full of shit. Mrs Lewis do us a favor and please resign.

    (7)(0)

    • I agree 100 percent, a woman cannot be speaking this way, in response to the death of a child. One report Mrs Lewis was one too many. There was absolutely no need to wait for a 2nd report.

      (5)(0)

    • This kind of situation hits home for me because I had a little nephew who suffered similar trauma (RIP). Unless action is taken against these kind of tragic occurrences, history will continue to repeat itself.
      A government must serve its people, after all it is a call to serve, hardly any are serving, but instead they are waiting to be served. Those who should be concerned about the social well being of the people have taken the role of being pump-us, and refusing to act according to the situations that arise in the land. Leaders and Government are implemented for order, and a house without order will never function effectively. Take heed of the all the events that are happening, how the youths are killing youths, which says a lot about the future of the country. Those in leadership are not growing younger. A country needs to build future successors, youths desiring to become leaders, and have positive role models, a foundation that will support and provide future stability.

      (3)(0)

  5. Typical government official the saying goes mother call her jamette before she calls you jamette! Lexie's I hope you reading this let Milaims face be the first and last thing you remember from this day forth . Let your thoughts always be with his soul . For its people like yourself who are responsible for our failing society incompetence at the highest level you should be a KFC working the drive through ! Shame , shame ! God Will deal with people like yourself and the failing Labour Party !

    (2)(0)

  6. ST LUCIA HAS THE LEADERSHIPS IT DESERVES! This comment is intentionally provocative. From the top down, the prime minster is REACTIVE to police matter even to the point of undermining the island’s security! Miss Lewis’s leadership style is REACTIVE to deflect scrutiny of her role, responsibility and her department. Child protection goes beyond ‘pointing finger’; we invest our leaders with powers to enact and enforce children’s rights. The public is REACTIVE when they bay for the blood of the perpetrators who cruelly killed Milan.

    Instead, the public should set an example, do the opposite; be PROACTIVE, use this righteous anger and pose your questions to government ministers, including the opposition, and demand that they are addressed in parliament. Sign petitions; demand an inquiry into Millan and other unfortunate children’s death. An impartial inquiry that goes beyond scapegoating, one that probes and establish the facts from all individuals and authorities involved with the family and child - what were their roles and responsibilities? The reason for such an inquiry is to LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE and put in place framework for all concern to work from to safeguard children. Do not forget, our leaders are our servants, demand answers from them, NOT EXCUSES. Then more children will be safeguarded against cruelty, abuse and death.

    (9)(0)

  7. "Lewis argued that everything should not be left up to the Human Services Department to do, but everyone has a role to play in ensuring that these cases are reported. “Certainly when the parents fail, somebody, somewhere must step in. It doesn’t always have to be the social worker or Human Services. We have schools, churches and family members,” she added."
    MRS LEWIS WORDS ABOVE. Tell me then Mrs. Lewis WHY THE NEED FOR YOU?? If we can "step in" we don't need you right? Think before you talk. Take responsibility or shut the hell up. DO SOMETHING. Maybe we should go further and form our own Human Services Dept. - "Citizens Against Child Abuse" with the one goal to save our children BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (use your imagination). And whilst we at it forget the police and "step in" too. Mrs. Lewis, I'll take your words under advisement and proceed henceforth.

    (18)(0)

  8. What kind of bull crap is this !!! It is time to put some handcuffs on these heartless people !! This disgusting step mother and his father ! This little boy was only four years old who would of known he could of been the next prime minister ! But instead the little Bitch will beat the child to death and then she's at her home still eating properly and sleeping in a comfy bed ! Whiles the child is in his grave ! This has me upset for days now and I must say Saint Lucia is too f--g disgusting with the way they handle their crimes ! What kind of f---g bulls-- is this !

    (7)(0)

  9. After reading all the comments I'm not sure why alot of people are surprised by the response of Mrs.Lewis. Hasn't her reaction become the norm in St.Lucia where people accept fat salaries on a monthly basis, jet out to all the international meetings at the expense of tax payers and then come back to lecture "sophistication" to us poor ignorant folks? This here is just another example of high incompetence refusing to accept responsibility but happy to accept a pay cheque. Remember Lambirds every agency involved deflected blame. Or what about the fact that people lost their lives in the Christmas eve trough? Did anyone get fired? Quite contrary fellow St.Lucians....don't be surprised its just how we roll.

    (16)(0)

  10. Fire her ass! That woman has a terrible attitude. How dare you not humble yourself amidst they failing of your duties? Who the hell does this woman think she is? A child has died and we must not point fingers? Goverment workers are lazy to rassssssssss. The doctor in question is also an idiot because injuries of any kind sustained at home are indeed questionable. I am so sick of these idiotic, callous, cocky, disgusting people in office.

    (16)(0)

    • She will not be fired she will definitely be promoted or transfered to an even chushier job where she continues to answer to no one and sits on comfortable executive throne/chair eating bon bons till it's time to go home.

      (4)(1)

  11. I want to comment but all I can think of his how terrible this turn out to be, not just for human services but many.. Many departments within the ministries.

    You have failed the child human services, god has used this as an example of how much lack of efforts that you and many public servants display.

    (8)(0)

  12. Rest in peace MY ASS. ThIS CHILD WILL NOT REST IN PEACE UNLESS THOSE PERPETRATORS INCLUDING HUMAN SERVICES ARE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. AMEN. This is just too much. Nothing has upset me more than this situation. Just watch that nice little boy there who just lost his life and that woman coming and talk that crap. You all will pay.

    (25)(1)

  13. It is quite interesting that corporal punishment is brought into this matter; this case is more than corporal punishment, how convenient, this has nothing to do with corporal punishment. The Division of Human Services was aware of this case, especially knowing that the child was placed in the care of the father. Human Services need to be held accountable for not doing follow up visits when children are placed in care. Physical Abuse has signs and if regular follow up visits were made I am positive that the social worker would have noticed something was amiss. Wasn’t the child in pre-school? Was a visit ever made to the preschool? Did the social worker even know which preschool the child was attending? Come on people, children in care should not have to undergo such treatment? Yes you have one documented report on the matter; however, that does not mean one report was made. The child was placed in care, the family’s report should not prompt a worker to do follow ups; it definitely should have been a wakeup call for regular visits. Not deemed serious sounds so absurd coming from the Director. Why was he placed in care? Wasn’t it to prevent further abuse? Fingers have to be pointed at the Division of Human Services, the agency that is supposed to protect children. If social workers are overwhelmed, now is the opportunity to put pressure on government to appoint more workers to prevent another incident of that nature.
    “The director said Millan’s unfortunate death should be used as a reminder that “child protection is everyone’s business” and that “corporal punishment must come to an end”. Instead of saying this you needed to say that his unfortunate death should serve as a reminder for the Division of Human Services to visit the children they place in care. Don’t just place them and think that all is well and good. Don’t allow St. Lucia to have another Milan; that is, a child removed from his/her home as a result of physical abuse, placed in care and dies as a result of physical abuse.

    (26)(0)