Children’s homes must conform to minimum standard or face closure
– Minister Webster
Failure on the part of operators of Children’s homes to conform to the minimum standard of operation as recommended by the Ministry of Labour Human Services and Social Security could see action being taken. This was the assertion of Human Services Minister, Jennifer Webster, who disclosed yesterday that there is the likelihood that some homes could even face closure for non-compliance.
Currently, there are a number of children’s homes scattered across the country, mainly in sections of Region Three, the Berbice area, the East Coast of Demerara and Georgetown. Some, according to the Minister, are operated by charitable institutions, while others are managed by private individuals.
In order to ensure that the operations of these homes are of an acceptable standard, the Minister revealed that towards the end of last year, moves were made to institute a Committee to oversee the operations of these facilities.
As part of the mandate of the Committee’s responsibility is the visiting of the various children’s homes currently in operation.
“The Committee has started its work…and a number of homes have been visited to see whether the minimum standards are in place,” said Minister Webster who disclosed that based on visitations, a number of homes have been formally notified to put measures in place to improve their operations.
“They have to put certain things in order in accordance with things that the minimum standard requires,” intimated Minister Webster.
She noted, too, that this year the Committee will continue its visitation drive and in some cases efforts will be made to scrutinise these homes through the Child Care and Protection Agency to ensure full compliance is realised.
“If they are not compliant based on the recommendations that we have made for them, some of these homes might face closure,” assured the Minister.
Government, through the Ministry, has been operating three Children’s homes, namely the Hadfield Street, Georgetown, Drop-In-Centre, one at Sophia, Georgetown and the Mahaica Children’s home. The latter mentioned operation will soon be moved to an upgraded multi-million-dollar facility which is currently under construction, compliments of Digicel Guyana.
The mobile company’s local Head of Marketing, Jacqueline James, recently indicated that there is yet more the company intends to do in the area of youth and development.
“Along with the (Human Services) Ministry we will be looking at other projects and other homes. We haven’t made any specific decisions as to which one it is going to be as yet, but yes, we do look forward to doing another project to ensure that our children are in a safe environment and that is our primary objective, because the children are the future of the country,” James stated.
It was highlighted by Minister Webster that the majority of children accommodated at the children’s homes are those who would have been abused. She also revealed recently that “we have more than 200 children in our care, including 12 young girls with babies from the hinterland programme.”