Needs Unit faces 340 applicant backlog

| 27/04/2016 | 55 Comments
Cayman News Service

Osbourne Bodden, Minister of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports, in the Legislative Assembly

(CNS): The community affairs minister has revealed further worrying numbers regarding the challenges faced by his under-resourced and overworked Needs Assessment Unit. Osbourne Bodden said that the NAU has a growing backlog of applications from people seeking permanent financial assistance that staff cannot get to because they are coping with the challenges of some 2,000 families and daily applications from people seeking immediate and temporary assistance. Even though many of the applicants that are in need of permanent welfare support are elderly members of the community, the minister admitted that the unit was so stretched that these outstanding applications, some of which were made “years ago”, could not be addressed until the government finds more money to fund the growing department, which has been under-staffed for a significant period.

Answering questions in the Legislative Assembly, Bodden was quite clear about the challenges the NAU was facing because of the increase in the number of families in need.

The department is currently managing on half the staff it needs, and while he is expecting to boost that in the next budget year, the minister said it would still take staff about six months to deal with permanent assistance applications once it was properly resourced. Without magic solutions, there was not much he could do, he told MLAs.

Bodden said applications for temporary assistance were taking priority and being dealt with in a matter of ten days, and that included helping families with rent, utilities, food vouchers and school lunches.

He said more than 2,000 families were receiving temporary help from government, and while there were numerous reasons why people were seeking help from government’s welfare office, some of them were in full time jobs but could still not make ends meet.

Bodden highlighted the problem of “dead beat dads” and their failure to support their children. He said some were even going to the extreme of quitting their jobs to prevent the courts from extracting earnings for children they refuse to provide for.

He said that the country was no longer taking responsibility for its own, with people turning their backs on their families, including children and the elderly. He urged people to take responsibility for their own instead of depending on government, which has its own financial challenges.

Family break-ups were fuelling the increase in requests for help, but the minister said general economic challenges, job losses and the fact that more people were aware of the Needs Assessment Unit was also increasing demand for services.

The minister said he was particularly concerned with the break-up of families and absent fathers not contributing. Although this is a reality of the times and government is not able to force couples to stay together, he said it was an issue the country had to grapple with.

“It’s a major part of the problem,” Bodden said. “When you have a family unit living together and then one leaves, the other really struggles. We need to find a way of breaking the cycle. It’s a societal problem but if you are making children out there, you have to do for those children.”

The minister said society had to hold the men to account but they were going to extreme lengths to avoid their obligations when faced with court orders.

The need to get people from welfare to work was also highlighted and Bodden said one of the requirements for people who are not in work to receive temporary assistance was that they register with the National Workforce Development Agency and many would be going on to the new government Ready2Work KY  programme. Bodden indicated that there was hope the Ready2Work initiative would begin to “ween people off” social support.

With 800 people on permanent assistance and more than 2,000 receiving temporary help, the NAU is still strained but Bodden said they were collecting significant information and he would supply his colleagues with more statistical information outlining the reasons why people are seeking help as well as how many are receiving assistance.

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Comments (55)

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  1. Allow Our People to work or you pay their bills says:

    And then there are the Caymanians that the Government force to retire whose pension is not even $300 a month. The person could capable remain in the job but are forced out and then guess what another person or family needing assistance or losing their home.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s just give every Caymanian man woman and child $2,000 cash every month, and close down the welfare machine. Think about it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Looks like you have to resort to the cod again, Oz.

  4. Crab Claw says:

    If there is such a huge backlog, they are dealing with people that need help and jobs, hire some of their clients to ease up the backlog

  5. Fedup says:

    The govt needs o stop sitting on the fence a stop plain devils advocate on this “dead beat” Father thing. We mothers are fed up and tired of wasting time in the courts and then absolutely nothing happens. I for one am owed over 100k in child support. I save my vacation days to spend with my kids rather than going back to waste time before the courts. More stringent rules need to be in place. Passports and drivers licenses taken away. Bank accounts frozen etc. Men have the claim “what good is being in jail gonna do?” Well hunt it will keep you from spending the kids money. On another note a lot of you are missing the point. This is all not about the woman or the man but instead the kid that was made and didn’t ask to be here but must be maintained. Govt needs to hit this whole social problem from the root not half way up the tree.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL… You seem like the rest of the controlling narcissistic women in Cayman. “It’s all about the kids, but give me the money !”. 95% of Divorces in Cayman filed by Women. No rights to the Father if unmarried. Police, Social Services, Courts, the law, and the application of laws in favor of women. Nobody enforcing the child laws against ridiculous mothers and there are a lot of them. Go snap another selfie you drama queen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ooo a rock got thrown in the pen and a swine squealed!

        Punkin in my world I am the father and mother for my kids. I’ve been that since the day my divorce finalized. And guess what? I’ve not gone back to court once. So I’d say I’m the baby mama you wish you had. But then again your probably just like most that prefer to pi$$ away their money before giving it to the human-being you made. Ask my ex husband about it..he’s prob your drinking buddy.

        In my case my kids are pretty much out of high school but the money is still owed so I propose that it still be in the books as owed not to me but to them and that debt should be paid. I may have feared better than most moms or dads out there who are raising their kids on their own, but at the end of the day it is still the principle that rules. You made them so support them.

        We all need to put aside this negative mentality and see that our social problems on this island all begin at home. If you have to leave it is not the fault of the kid or kids and you should continue to be a part of their lives and not just say ooh the mom or the dad and I don’t get along. That child is still your responsibility no matter what.

        Btw. Ozzie I would be happy to give up my private sector job for the job of heading up the dept that goes after these deadbeats…man or woman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree that there are a lot of deadbeat dads but these girls know this and still get pregnant for them. It does take two to tango but the mentality of a lot of these young mothers think it’s governments job to take care of them. I think the NAU should profile their applicants if they come in with their manicures, pedicures, the latest cell phones, designer hand bags etc. turn them away! They have their priorities mixed up, they want to have luxuries (that should be afforded only to those who make enough $ to pay for them) it’s not up to government or taxpayers to support their poor choices in life. Please don’t encourage Cayman society to develope the “welfare mentality” that has & still plagues the USA. Encourage them to be accountable and take care of their responsibilities. I was raised by a single mother, she didn’t look for handouts, she accepted that she had a child to raise and she put her priorities in order which was food, shelter and pay bills before you can buy “extras” there was always love of course!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love how Ossie stands up in the LA and blames “society”. It’s not “society’s” job to fix the problem, it’s government. Government is how “society” pools its resources and fixes society-wide problems.

    We didn’t elect people like Ossie to stand up in the LA to assign the blame and make excuses. We elected him to fix the problem.

    If you can’t think of a solution, step aside and let someone else have a go.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      7:08. Why is it that our stupid people sit back and expect government to fix every problem? Our people have become too dependent on government for hand outs, which was not the way of life for us Caymanians. We have adopted this way of life, which is not in our best interest. Decent people prefer to work, provide, save and persevere to meet our needs. Stop family members from fleecing their own.
      Do a proper assessment of those who genuinely are in need and cut off the baggage that is the overload.

      • Anonymous says:

        Whose job is it to “do a proper assessment”? the government.

        There will always be people that legitimately cannot work or support themselves. You can’t just let them die in the streets.

        And if you provide welfare you will always have people that try to game the system, and even some that succeed.

        Ossie wants to figure out who is to blame for all this working so ineffectively. It’s HIS job to come up with policies and laws to make it better.

        It’s not his job to wring his hands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Many of these dead beat dads are actually employed, they just get paid in cash, and under report income to avoid responsibilities. I see it time and time again. Everything gets heaped on the mothers, whom are often children themselves. We need better sex Ed, better parenting, and easily available contraceptives. We also need fair and equally applied custody laws – as the court has one judge, whom if you are so unfortunate as to draw as an expat mother, would show undue preference to crack head serial killer as long as he produces Caymanian sperm.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are also the adults the grown lazy men who were married and either separated or divorced and don’t work and refuse to work so they don’t have to support their children. Why isn’t this connected to a prison term? It’s a contract just like any other. What is the recourse for not paying maintenance?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Strange the glaring obvious question is being missed. Count the number of people working out iof the NAU times by the number of people on their books and then tell me they are over stratched. You will find a lot of deadbeats not working to capacity.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dead beat Dads who refuse to work and support their children should not receive any benefits themselves, and be forced to attend lessons in responsibility of parenting. I bet these same guys still demand on seeing their kids and cause havoc for the women they left in the lurch.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here’s an idea, lets strip these women of custody, and let the Dads care for them, and charge the dead beat mothers child support.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh please not of these fathers would care for the children. Most only want custody because they don’t want to pay child support and want the woman to pay them. They then find some other poor sucker to take care of teh child and knock up so the cycle continues.

        • Anonymous says:

          These mothers don’t care about their children either… just another method to control the men in their lives and get money whether from Government or Fathers… bunch of women running around treating their kids like piggy banks.

    • Anonymous says:

      The dead beat dads are a nuisance to society and just waste court time. Not paying. Not caring for the child and doing the absolute bare minimum to show an inkling of interest just to irk the mother.

      Either be a father. A real one. That supports financially, emotionally and in presence or stop being a nuisance. For these fathers it seems to be about some weird macho pride and ownership.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If I get a traffic ticket and forget to pay – a warrant for my arrest will be issued guaranteed! But if these “dead Beat” fathers bout da place refuse to pay their child support – NOTHING HAPPENS….?????? Women in this country have no one looking out for their well being. Thanks Ozzie but it took almost 4 years to say this and why.. because its hurting the Governments pocket!

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s not forgot the deadbeat mothers we have strolling through our streets daily as well. Its a bad situation all around.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Women in this country have no one looking out for their well being”. You need a reality check. The laws in this country 100% favour women over men. If the men in Cayman behaved even a smidgen of the way women in this country behave, every man would be in prison.

    • Anonymous says:

      If had to deal with them, I would first support help for some of the elderly, who are genuinely in need of help. Their are those elderly folks who have turned their poverty and savings over to their family members, who have fleeced them and left them wards of the state.
      An recent publication of the elderly being assisted, is just an living example of fleecing. Why? Because our government has done nothing about it in the past and is allowing it to continue. Some of the Baggage is being housed in the very homes that our government is paying/assisting the edlerly in. Eject them, stop pampering the useless family members, or, let them pay their way. Just saying.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wonder how many of these people are Caymanian courtesy of Mr. Mac….

    Also would love to asses some of these folks, do they have new cars, do they fly off to Miami to shop etc.

    Maybe some financial planning would help?

    If we could eliminate those that should not be getting assistance, then at least there would be time and funds for those that are really in need.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean as in “Driftwood” people?????

      • Anonymous says:

        In some cases, and if they do not self identify as Caymanians – frankly, yes. Some of them had no business being granted status in that or any other manner and we may all be paying the very substantial price as a result.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The biggest problem in Cayman people need to stop having babies I see girls with 3 and four at age 30 that’s crazy and about dead beat dads good thing I don’t have time for that I rise my child alone I can continue doing without a father the court systems is foolishness.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the multiple baby problem. I worked next to a young Caymanian single Mom who was proud of her six children. She was 25 years young. She was determined to ‘solve’ the expat problem and create a workforce of Caymanians. She admitted multiple fathers were involved and was proud to say that CIG would ensure they were cared for financially. Self imposed poverty and hardship was the sentence granted and accepted. How do you combat an attitude like that?

      • Anonymous says:

        5 of those children are going to end up in Northward, scary.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s bring the bigger elephant into the room and look from the 50000 foot view. What kind of world can our children and grandchildren expect to live in when those living in poverty reproduce at a far higher rate than those not. In western society the wealth will continue to be concentrated among fewer and fewer families, while the number of impoverished persons grows rapidly. What does that scenario look like in 50 years? How do we balance out this imbalance which is quietly occurring?

  14. Anonymous says:

    If they are understaffed then HIRE some of the 2000 unemployed locals. Duhhh. And if you don’t have the money cut some of the salary of these ministers and use that.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A proper welfare law that has thought out parameters and provides application forms, allowing for definite levels of assistance for defined needs might assist rather than the haphazard way the system is operated now.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t speak on the law as to whether it is proper or not, but believe me the forms are very thorough and onerous. I went there with a lady who was having very serious health issues and needed some assistance and the forms really left no relevant info out. It is not just the forms but copies of monthly bills, bank statement, if any etc. of course it takes time, they just cannot hand over funds without thorough assessment. Too many people on this island did not prepare for ” a rainy day”. They spent everything they could get their hands on with no thought of tomorrow.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its also called poverty when you cannot save for a rainy day despite working hard and consistently.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Oz, how many of these persons that cannot support themselves are from overseas? I ask because we have lots of laws deigned and intended to ensure that persons who cannot maintain themselves are generally prohibited from settling here. Are we not enforcing our laws?

    • Anonymous says:

      Overseas? You have to be on a work permit to remain here. This seems like a silly question.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am afraid not. Possibly hundreds of foreign children and spouses are amongst the recipients and very few are on work permits. Many overstayers are also receiving support, but Social Services has no clear understanding of their actual immigration position.

      • Kittyboy says:

        Once these foolish, foolish men have children with some third world gold digger their babies and baby mamas our problem. Not saying all cases are such, but damn, there are a lot of stupid men on this rock. Hint to fugly men, hot chicks only like you for what you can give them, and once they get it they are gone. Duh.

        • SickADemSpaniardsToo says:

          Yes those Honduran women especially. The get knocked up just so the dumb ugly Caymanian man will marry them a free ticket to dump the kid on the man whole they drink smoke and party. Look into all the marriages of convenience too!

  17. Allar says:

    How many is Caymanian?

    • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry to tell you but a lot of them aren’t Caymanians. The foreign women come and marry our druggies or drunks so they can stay here and guess what? Them and their children end up on NAU because they aren’t supporting them. I never knew that NAU supported them until I met a woman from Jamaica who had married a druggie, left him and was fooling around other men. She had five children and none of them was his. Social Services as it was called at that time was supporting them. I could name at least two or more cases like this.

        Mr. Bodden: I would suggest that you talk to the Judges about believing the women when they say that these men are working and lying and saying they aren’t. They don’t even read the files or check on these men to see that they have a history.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely untrue – but even many of the people they say are Caymanian, Immigration would say are not.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ten days for temporary assistance? That must be for Grand Cayman. I went to the Brac office to be assessed in early March – and still have not heard an answer. I am an existing client and brought the office people all the paperwork they asked for. So is from early March to the end of April 10 days. One form that I filled out clearly says up top that an answer may take up to 10 working days.

    Minister Bodden, the only thing I am being told is that my case is still being reviewed and processed. So tell me where is the delay? Is the Brac office people really doing their job, or is the problem when the paperwork gets reviewed in Grand Cayman? I don’t want to be on social services and if it was just me it would not be so bad. But when you got children and you live on Brac what am I supposed to do – live off promises.

    Nobody wants to hear the excuse that you are short-staffed – wonder how you would feel if your end of month paycheck was delayed for one month, two months.

    Instead of government throwing away money on a playfield in the middle of the bluff that is used by a vary small portion of our community, why don’t you and the rest of Cabinet transfer funds to Needs Assessment to get more assistance.

    Really sick and tired of always hearing how short-staffed Needs Assessment is, you are in charge of that area, so it’s failures are reflective of your poor leadership and the poor leadership of your chief officer and director at Need Assessment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same thing here and it’s for an elderly person. The problem is that everyone is feeling it. I don’t agree about taking money from the Brac field because that is where we will shortly be getting more money from in the way of Sports Tourism but I agree with the commenter who said to take it from the Ministers big salaries. They aren’t earning it anyway. I have to work 40 hrs a week and get quarter of their salary. They only work two days a year and get $100,000. The other reason is that the Brac field gets used every day. Without sports and keeping healthy, more money will be spent on unhealthy people and children getting into problems. Exercise is good for the mind and body.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:20 What’s wrong with our people is, they rather depend on hand outs, rather than hand ups. I know of single parents, who have never hit a lick, have children and is solely dependent on Needs Assessment Unit to provide for them. They shop, carouse, peddle and use drugs at taxpayers expense. It is time for the NAU to do a through investigation of their clients and eliminate the users.
      The majority of the younger/ baby mothers have never worked, are not interested in holding a JOB other than increasing the population. Seek out the dead beat fathers and let them care and provide for their children. Is Government a some donor?.

      • Anonymous says:

        NAU do need to weed out the lazy ones but I know of a lot of elderly people that need help too. Contrary to popular belief, all the elderly people do not plenty children that can help and won’t help their parents.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. Check out the other welfare / handout shelters for the terminally unemployable such as the post office.

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