Neville slams own staff over probe

Rob Antle
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Advocate to launch investigation of fatal Labrador fire

Child and youth advocate Darlene Neville has issued a news release slamming her own staff for their handling of a complaint made earlier this year.

Neville says she will now launch her own investigation of the situation, and doesn't want "certain staff" at her office involved in the probe.

Darlene Neville

Child and youth advocate Darlene Neville has issued a news release slamming her own staff for their handling of a complaint made earlier this year.

Neville says she will now launch her own investigation of the situation, and doesn't want "certain staff" at her office involved in the probe.

The development comes in the wake of a cabinet decision to appoint a new investigator to look into whistleblower complaints by Neville's staff.

And it is the latest in a series of complaints, counter-complaints, investigations and legal actions that have embroiled the House of Assembly and its independent offices in recent months.

Neville said in her Friday release that staff in her office received a referral in January from a concerned citizen in Happy Valley-Goose Bay about a fatal fire in the town last year.

The referral concerned the child-protection services provided to a 13-year-old boy and his family prior to the fire. The boy, a five-year-old girl, and three others died in the blaze, according to media reports.

Neville said staff in her office had originally taken no action in response to the referral, and she didn't find out about it until a June meeting with Opposition Leader Yvonne Jones.

She said she subsequently asked for, and reviewed, documents from Child, Youth and Family Services in Labrador regarding the services provided to these families, and determined a probe is necessary.

Neville said it would be inappropriate for "certain staff" to be involved in the new investigation, as they previously determined that no action or followup was required.

She indicated she is looking for help from the House of Assembly management commission in carrying out the probe.

That is the group of politicians that now oversees the administration of the legislature.

Neville and House Speaker Roger Fitzgerald have been at loggerheads for months.

In June, Fitzgerald released an independent review that cleared him of harassment allegations made by Neville.

Last month, Neville filed court documents seeking to quash a new investigation into a whistleblower complaint involving her office.

The cabinet appointed retired civil servant Robert Noseworthy to look into the matter.

Previously, Neville had filed court documents seeking to bar citizens' representative Barry Fleming from carrying out the investigation.

She has alleged that Fleming is in a conflict of interest, because of Neville's own probes of the health authority where Fleming's wife is employed.

It also emerged in recent court filings that another investigation of Neville's office is currently underway - this one by the Public Service Commission, at the request of the Speaker. The House of Assembly said Friday the Speaker was reviewing the latest matter involving Neville's office, and may be in a position to comment next week.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Youth and Family Services, Public Service Commission

Geographic location: Labrador, Happy Valley, Goose Bay

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Recent comments

  • darls
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    i think she should slame herself into a wall....then maybe she'll wake up and actually help the kids out there who needs her help or better yey take her out of this position and replace her with someone who actually cares about these kids

  • up4discussion
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    if she leads her own investigation , wouldn't this make the results of any findings somewhat biased? i feel an independent, out of province agency is warranted and needed here.

  • stan rivera
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Way to throw the staff under the bus Darlene! That should buy you another paycheque or two. Something stinks in that office and it starts at the top. Time to fire this gasbag.

  • Manuel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    All these workers had the oppurnity to voice their concerns. They have never done so nor did they plan to do it. I am a child from a very abusive hosehold and was tortured. I went to them as a child and was brought home again by the police only to be beaten again. I have a medical record larger then anyone in newfoundland and not once did child welfare take me out of the house. So to hear these stories is of no surprise. Its normal for our system and most are used to it. A few come on here to voice their opinion and thats as far as it will go. Nobody will ever step up to the plate and speak for these kids. Its a very sad thing to say but its going to happen and continue to happen until some horrific beating of a child that makes someone step up and take action.

  • Elliott
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Same old, same old at the Office of the Child Youth Advocate , I see. Do they actually do much at this expensive office? Have they ever done much?

  • Marshallart
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    No doubt morale at Neville's office is at an all time high. Smiles and high fives all round at the workplace from hell. Why don't Neville and Fitzgerald just duke it out in the parking lot ? A front kick to the gonads and everybody back to work.

  • Cynthia
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Another what's her name Burke in the cabinet?

  • not surprised
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    you know what they say, a ship is only as good as it's captain time to make this captain walk the plank!!!

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    This Woman should be taken out of power she is wasting our tax money to get her own staff back for the whistleblower complaints. This news peice has pay back wrote all over it.

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    And the children still suffer.

    This appointee should be shown the door. It's everyone's fault but hers.

    Bum covering at its finest.

  • fedup
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    he said that she didnt,she said that he didnt,he did ,she did,they did,they didnt,i didnt,i didnt either, and on and on and on
    our tax money working for you

  • g-man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    will someone tell ms.neville that her anticks are causing our tax payers a fortune..get rid of her(neville) !!!

  • Rod
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Why is Mrs. Neville allowed to remain in this position while her office is besieged with contraversy? If it's not one thing it's another. I say remove her now and let someone run it. The constant lawsuits and public fighting does nothing to improve the already damaged image of child welfare and Mrs, Neville's office. It appears that Mrs. Neville is hanging on to her plum job with every finger nail when she should have been running the shop. Do the right thing , Resign!!!!!

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    These people have the power to make decisions regarding the welfare of children? - scary!

  • bridget
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    This province needs to take a close look at the record from the Child and Youth Advocates office. The first advocate left under a shadow of suspicion and now we have Ms. Neville who is always looking for someone to blame rather than taking a good look at herself. Surely the House of Assembly must realize the lack of confidence that is growing with the Advocate's office. What is the role, anyway? Is it not to advocate for better services for children and youth? Have there been any improvements since the advent of the Advocate's office? If so, what are they?

  • Edward
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Three cheers to Ms Neville! It must take tremendous courage to speak the truth and not just roll over.

    The whole matter sounds very complex, which must make action even more difficult for Ms Neville.

    I face many challenges myself with Western Health administrators in Corner Brook on several health care issues related to my mom.

    Is it not time for provincial Town Hall meetings on health care, child and youth, mental health, addictions, etc.?

    Hang in there, Ms Neville.

  • darls
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    i think she should slame herself into a wall....then maybe she'll wake up and actually help the kids out there who needs her help or better yey take her out of this position and replace her with someone who actually cares about these kids

  • up4discussion
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    if she leads her own investigation , wouldn't this make the results of any findings somewhat biased? i feel an independent, out of province agency is warranted and needed here.

  • stan rivera
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Way to throw the staff under the bus Darlene! That should buy you another paycheque or two. Something stinks in that office and it starts at the top. Time to fire this gasbag.

  • Manuel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    All these workers had the oppurnity to voice their concerns. They have never done so nor did they plan to do it. I am a child from a very abusive hosehold and was tortured. I went to them as a child and was brought home again by the police only to be beaten again. I have a medical record larger then anyone in newfoundland and not once did child welfare take me out of the house. So to hear these stories is of no surprise. Its normal for our system and most are used to it. A few come on here to voice their opinion and thats as far as it will go. Nobody will ever step up to the plate and speak for these kids. Its a very sad thing to say but its going to happen and continue to happen until some horrific beating of a child that makes someone step up and take action.

  • Elliott
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Same old, same old at the Office of the Child Youth Advocate , I see. Do they actually do much at this expensive office? Have they ever done much?

  • Marshallart
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    No doubt morale at Neville's office is at an all time high. Smiles and high fives all round at the workplace from hell. Why don't Neville and Fitzgerald just duke it out in the parking lot ? A front kick to the gonads and everybody back to work.

  • Cynthia
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Another what's her name Burke in the cabinet?

  • not surprised
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    you know what they say, a ship is only as good as it's captain time to make this captain walk the plank!!!

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    This Woman should be taken out of power she is wasting our tax money to get her own staff back for the whistleblower complaints. This news peice has pay back wrote all over it.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    And the children still suffer.

    This appointee should be shown the door. It's everyone's fault but hers.

    Bum covering at its finest.

  • fedup
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    he said that she didnt,she said that he didnt,he did ,she did,they did,they didnt,i didnt,i didnt either, and on and on and on
    our tax money working for you

  • g-man
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    will someone tell ms.neville that her anticks are causing our tax payers a fortune..get rid of her(neville) !!!

  • Rod
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Why is Mrs. Neville allowed to remain in this position while her office is besieged with contraversy? If it's not one thing it's another. I say remove her now and let someone run it. The constant lawsuits and public fighting does nothing to improve the already damaged image of child welfare and Mrs, Neville's office. It appears that Mrs. Neville is hanging on to her plum job with every finger nail when she should have been running the shop. Do the right thing , Resign!!!!!

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    These people have the power to make decisions regarding the welfare of children? - scary!

  • bridget
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    This province needs to take a close look at the record from the Child and Youth Advocates office. The first advocate left under a shadow of suspicion and now we have Ms. Neville who is always looking for someone to blame rather than taking a good look at herself. Surely the House of Assembly must realize the lack of confidence that is growing with the Advocate's office. What is the role, anyway? Is it not to advocate for better services for children and youth? Have there been any improvements since the advent of the Advocate's office? If so, what are they?

  • Edward
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Three cheers to Ms Neville! It must take tremendous courage to speak the truth and not just roll over.

    The whole matter sounds very complex, which must make action even more difficult for Ms Neville.

    I face many challenges myself with Western Health administrators in Corner Brook on several health care issues related to my mom.

    Is it not time for provincial Town Hall meetings on health care, child and youth, mental health, addictions, etc.?

    Hang in there, Ms Neville.