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Email from Children’s Services calls dyslexic mother ‘illiterate’

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A dyslexic mother who has children in care has been branded an ‘illiterate’ complainant who makes ‘spurious allegations’ in an email sent to her in error by the head of Jersey’s Children’s Services.

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The message, intended for a colleague within the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills, was sent by head of service Gwynne Rayns earlier this month. It followed a series of emails from the service user, who had contacted the department to make a number of complaints about her case.

The email, that was not intended to be seen by the mother, read: ‘We have removed children and we seem to have agreed to meet with her every 3 weeks to discuss concerns she wants to raise. I would like to discuss this when we meet because it seems to me that this just feeds her desire to continue with spurious allegations. She is emailing illiterate complaints 5–6 times per day.’

Speaking to the JEP, the recipient of the email, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘I was annoyed. I was upset. To be honest, she’d never even met me at that point. For her to write something like that about somebody she’s never met is wrong. I would never dream of writing that about anybody, especially somebody I’ve never met.

‘I’ve since met her but didn’t mention it face to face. I can’t trust Children’s Services. They sign pledges to look after children but they need to do something about their staffing. Staff that interact with families in a way that can’t build trust, to speak like that, is not how a relationship is meant to be formed.’

After receiving the email, she replied twice by email to Ms Rayns to highlight the error.

The first said: ‘I don’t think yo realize that u sent this message to me but I don’t care what you think.’

A follow-up email read: ‘Gwynne I still have not had any apology for the first message you sent to me how are my complaints are illiterate I have dyslexia you see so may be that’s why I doubt you will be in it job very long if this is the way you are treating people.’

It was only after those messages were sent, and five days after the original email, that she received a response which fell short of apologising for calling her ‘illiterate’.

The email from Gwynne Rayn on 17 September read: ‘You were inadvertently sent an email in error and I apologise for that mix up and any distress caused to you.’

A States of Jersey spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to maintaining standards of professionalism and courtesy, and investigate all complaints thoroughly. Where we fall short in our conduct, we will apologise and ensure that lessons are learned and that any appropriate action is taken. However, we won’t comment on individual cases.’

Gary Burgess

By Gary Burgess
Reporter

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