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Former care home resident at Bryn Estyn turned down for child care post



A MAN who was abused when he lived in a North Wales care home was shocked to be bracketed with Soham murderer Ian Huntley when he applied for a job as a social worker. Darren Laverty, 36, was physically abused at the notorious Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham and later gave evidence to the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.After leaving council care he fell into a life of burglary, fighting, drug-dealing and other behaviour which he claims was typical of youngsters abused in care homes. But Mr Laverty, now a graduate, says he has no convictions on his record from the past 15 years, and nothing on that record relates to children.He was offered a job with Bryn Melyn, a Bala-based company which runs children’s units in North Wales.But last month the job offer was withdrawn after the Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales (CSIW) expressed its concerns.The rejection letter from Simon Goulding, head of residential care at Bryn Melyn, said, “In the light of the recent Soham case, I hope that you appreciate how difficult it would be for Bryn Melyn to consider you further.”Mr Laverty wrote back for an explanation, and was told it related to various statements by the Government following the conviction of Ian Huntley.Mr Laverty, who lives in Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, was horrified to be tarred with the same brush. “There’s no comparison,” he said yesterday.Huntley was the subject of allegations of sexual abuse of underage girls before he was given a job as a school caretaker, where he gained the trust of the two 10-year-old girls he murdered in August 2002.Mr Laverty said his experiences of the care system at its worst gave him an extra qualification for looking after children in care today.”It’s a case of poacher turned gamekeeper,” he said.”Since the 1980s I’ve been campaigning for an inspector for children’s homes. Now we’ve got it, I apply to become a social worker and it bites me. I consider I’m indelibly marked.”He was taken into care in 1978, aged 10. He lived at various council-run care homes including Bryn Estyn, the focus of much of the Waterhouse Report on child abuse. “I wasn’t sexually abused. It was physical,” he said. “I had some serious beatings.”I was thrown out of care in 1984. I went to a detention centre for four months for criminal damage. When I came out I went to live in Wrexham and met a girl whose mother turned out to be a drugs dealer. I went to prison for 10 months for drug dealing and came out a reprobate – drinking, fighting and taking drugs.”In 1989 he began his long struggle to lead a normal life. “I received counselling. Most of the recovery was inwards. I had to teach myself to unlearn everything I had learned, socially and emotionally.”I had had no education whatsoever. Now I’ve got a degree in criminology and criminal justice.”A CSIW spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr Laverty’s case. She said, “The employment of staff within a children’s home is a matter for the provider. As part of its regulatory responsibilities, CSIW considers the appropriateness of recruitment processes operated in a registered setting.”This would include consideration of compliance with the disqualification from working with children regulations.”Nobody was available to comment at Bryn Melyn yesterday.

IC Wales