New home helps separate troubled kids from kids in trouble

| 02/03/2016 | 1 Comment
Cayman News Service

Frances Bodden Children’s Home boys wing ribbon cutting
(L-R) Premier Alden McLaughlin, CAYS Foundation Board Chairman Garth Arch, Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden, Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, Finance Minister Marco Archer and Community Affairs Chief Officer Dorine Whittaker

(CNS): A new wing to accommodate boys at the Frances Bodden Children’s Home shows some progress by the community affairs ministry towards separating children and youths who are in trouble with the law from troubled young people who need a safe place to stay. Government still faces numerous problems regarding appropriate housing of young people who are in need of protection and cannot stay with their families for one reason or another but this latest expansion will provide a safe environment to up to ten boys who have experienced trauma.

Girls will now stay in the existing building, while the new 1,800 sq ft adjacent building will house the boys at the facility managed by the CAYS Foundation.

“This critical facility ensures that children placed on care orders will not mix with those placed on youth rehabilitation orders, thereby allowing the CAYS Foundation to better meet the specific needs of each group,” said Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden.

Cayman News Service

Living room in the Frances Bodden Children’s Home boy’s wing

Currently, the Bonaventure Boys’ Home, which is also managed by CAYS, houses the kids in trouble but only has room for ten boys. Young offenders charged or convicted by the courts are now incarcerated at a renovated Eagle House, which, although separate from the adult inmates, is still on the main prison site. Plans set in motion during the previous UDP administration by then community affairs minister Mike Adam to develop a purpose-built facility for young people in trouble with the law, based on the Missouri model, was shelved by the current PPM administration.

With government cash still tight, no public money was used for the Frances Bodden expansion. In 2014 Cabinet granted approval to construct a separate home for boys at the Lower Valley site but it was the CAYS board that raised funds through private sector donations.

“The board of directors, the general manager and the staff of the CAYS Foundation have worked tirelessly to accommodate both of these populations, while bringing about meaningful change in the children’s lives. This facility, therefore, will enhance their therapeutic programmes and ensure that children placed in care can continue to flourish, explore and understand their personal and family experiences within an appropriate peer-group setting,” Minister Bodden added.

Cayman News Service

Bunk beds in open concept boy’s wing

Chairman of the CAYS Foundation Board, Garth Arch, noted that every element of the project was donated.  “This new building, while it is modest in size, is significant in what it represents – a community coming together for the youth of these islands.”

The project took less than a year to complete and the minister said it showed how the private sector businesses, community service groups and government could work together — generously and quickly.

Several private sector companies and individuals supported the effort to raise more than $500,000 to complete the project. John Doak Architecture provided all of the architectural services; Arch and Godfrey managed the building project. Financial contributions came from Hedge Funds Care, MaplesFS, the Maples Foundation, Frank Hall Homes, Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Race for Grace Organization, Good Technologies, CI Triathlon Association, AMR Consulting Engineers, Avatr Mathura, Roland Bodden & Co., Cox Lumber, Caribbean Impact Windows & Doors and Island Paving.

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Comments (1)

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  1. MM says:

    A long time coming for getting this done. One of the roots of our many problems is that the youth issues have been left hidden for too long. It is no secret that the Caymanian community has always shunned and covered-up problems with the youth. Many years/generations ago our people even hid disabled babies/children/adults away in houses never allowing them to come out or even making neighbors know such a family member lived within their household!

    Unfortunately, ours has been a mentality where a pound of cure is better than an ounce of prevention – and this is obviously not the most sensible way to handle these matters! Problems are tucked under the rug to avoid shame and disgrace while the issues that created these problems continue to compound themselves until no more dirt can be held under the rug… then suddenly when someone shakes that rug out the whole island starts to sneeze!

    Hiding and running from our local issues has never served any good purpose, but Government administration after gov administration has done so for fear of upsetting the people, no one wants to admit their wrongs because of the negativity, and yet these things always come back to bite us all.

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