Jun 19, 2008 News Comments Off on Ministry unveils children’s home standards
The Ministry of Human Services yesterday launched its minimum operational standards and regulations for childcare homes.
The launch was held yesterday in the Savannah Suite of Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel.
The 25 minimum standards are a commitment to adhere to an approved and published baseline for providing quality care to children.
The programme was chaired by Permanent Secretary, Trevor Thomas, and began with the recitation of the National Pledge and a prayer by St Margaret’s Primary School student, Greer Jackson.
Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand said that child protection has always been a priority for the government.
She noted that each child must benefit from the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).
According to the Minister, the intention is to ensure that each child reside with their family.
However, where the home environment is not conducive or children are displaced, Manickchand said they must be institutionalised.
“When they find themselves displaced or misplaced and natural homes does not allow for a safe environment, we have to place them in these care homes,” the Minister said.
She stressed that the ultimate goal would be to reunite each child with relatives but each case is not apt to reintegration.
In these circumstances, Manickchand stated that foster care would apply to those who are eligible.
“This is why we are working to mainstream out foster care programme and we are depending on you to come forward and indicate that you are ready to foster a child,” Manickchand remarked.
The expressed confidence that the standards can be implemented since it was initiated by the very care homes which are to apply it.
She added that the standards were arrived at after rounds of consultations with children’s homes and can be operational within a year.
Manickchand disclosed that there are more than 600 children in institutional care and only 33 can be reintegrated.
The Minister indicated that 300 of these children must remain in care homes.
She stated that no decision can be taken with the remaining children since their parents cannot be found.
“We would need background information about where they came from and things like that but we cannot find their parents,” the Human Services Minister said.
Manickchand related that there are children who are picked up during the Mission Child Protection Programme whose parents are still to be found.
It added that the child must be admitted to the home only after it has been decided by the court or the Child Protection Agency that it is in the child’s best interest.
Institutional care homes should also employ a code of conduct which must be observed by staff.
According to Standard 12, the consequences of breaking rules are clear and linked to the home’s disciplinary processes.
“The children are encouraged to make decisions about their lives and to influence the way the home is run. No child is assumed to be unable to communicate his/her view.
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