Conservatorio Vincenzo Bugeja youths relocated, staff fired due to ‘mismanagement’

The Conservatorio Vincenzo Bugeja, a home for youths opened more than a hundred years ago, will shut down its care programmes, relieve staff of their duties and relocate residents after disagreements between its private management and the government.

Sources at the Conservatorio told The Shift the situation resulted from mismanagement of the homes, including the Fejda and Jean Antide residences,  in recent years, resulting in increased violence between residents and several escapes.

When contacted by The Shift, representatives of the board of trustees downplayed the changes at the privately-owned Conservatorio, characterising them as a simple “restructuring.” They refused to provide details on the reasons behind the changes.

The Social Justice and Children’s Rights Minister Michael Falzon claimed in parliament on Wednesday that the Ministry and the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) will find “alternative accommodation” for the youths.

Falzon said the Public Social Partnership, which this year saw some €800,000 budgeted for the Conservatorio, would not be extended by the trustees, but similarly did not give any further information.

Questions sent by The Shift to FSWS CEO Alfred Grixti asking for more details on the changes were also left unanswered at the time of publication.

Police sources who spoke to The Shift noted how they are often called in to maintain order at the Conservatorio.

They said the two homes saw “constant fighting and violence” between the residents and were “a complete mess,” noting how social workers were subjected to distressing situations.

Falzon disclosed the information on the changes at the Conservatorio following questions by opposition Shadow Minister for Social Policy David Agius.

He asked what would happen to the 36 workers at the Conservatorio when it shuts down.

Sources at the home claimed all care workers at the Conservatorio were being laid off by its management, with their last day of work set for the end of the month.

They claimed the home management took a turn for the worse in the last three years and expressed disappointment at its closure.

While Falzon claimed the government was urging the workers to apply for vacant ministry positions, it is understood their previous conditions of work and remuneration will not be kept.

According to the same sources, the youths at the home will be moved out next week, with Falzon claiming they will be relocated to three other residences administered by the ministry and FSWS.

                           

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