Standards challenged at children’s home

| 17/04/2017 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service

Frances Bodden Children’s Home

(CNS): The Frances Bodden Children’s Home has been severely criticisised in a Facebook post suggesting that the children living in care at the facility are being “treated like prisoners”. Generating a wide response from the social media community, dozens of people agreed with the poster, Angelita Edwards from West Bay, including a number of candidates in the upcoming election and Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, who said it was very hard to get information from officials.

Bush said that opposition MLAs had to jump through hoops to try to find out what was happening when they received these kinds of complaints.

While the ministry responsible released a statement defending the management of the home, many people said that what Edwards was revealing had been a concern for years but complaints are dismissed. In her post she said that after visiting the home she raised her concerns about the failure of the facility to help the young girls there.

“One would think this facility was to suppose to be a safe house for kids who are coming from broken homes but instead they are treated no differently than at the home they came from or even worst,” she posted and implied it was no surprise many of the girls run away.

She said there was “no love, no affection” at the home and no one had the girls’ best interests at heart, with residents locked-down for 24 hours. Edwards urged candidates to get involved and try to find out how the government cash and charitable donations are being spent, as she called for an audit of the home’s finances and background checks of the staff. 

The Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports is responsible for the CAYS Foundation that manages the home under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services. The home, which is located in Bodden Town, is meant to protect vulnerable young people. It was originally a girls’ home but it can now house a limited number of boys in need as well.

“Many of these children come into care having complex mental health, psychosocial, emotional and behavioural difficulties as a result of having experienced trauma, abuse, neglect and the uncertainty that comes from living in difficult circumstances. Such exposure to risk and stressful family events often affect their early development, behaviour, confidence and ability to attach positively to adults,” the officials said.

The ministry said it seeks to ensure the girls are cared for by caregivers that can meet their needs and provide them with encouragement.

“As ‘corporate parent’ with a duty to the children and young people in care, we also recognise that no one specialist service or agency can by itself provide all the support needed by them. Key to ensuring their welfare, wellbeing and securing our children’s positive development is the working relationship which is established between the department, multi-agency professionals, and the staff of the CAYS Foundation,” officials said, adding that the responsibility in the practical parenting and care planning for these children is shared and they have the same opportunities as their peers.

“We set high expectations for delivering and supervising the care of the children and young people in our facilities and encourage them to have high expectations of themselves. We want them to have a sense of achievement and security, and we guide them towards looking forward to a future where they will be valued and involved citizens who are economically independent and able to contribute positively to our community,” the ministry stated. “Our aim is to continually improve children’s experience in the ‘in care’ system. We seek to do so through reviews and setting of best practice standards of services, defining safeguarding responsibilities and monitoring to ensure rigour to the delivery of outcomes within core cost specifications.”

Pointing to the myriad problems that children ‘in care’ face, the ministry said it took responsibility for fostering an accountable safeguarding culture that values the voice of children but admitted that a considerable amount of work is still required to improve the system.

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  1. Rodney Barnett IV says:

    Clearly there are many reasons for the situation at the Children’s Home. Many have played a part in how we are were we are. Having said that, I cannot help but believe our government is really at the heart of things.

    It is so hard for me to understand why Caymanians do not understand how blessed they really are. To have been born in a tiny country with no significant natural resources, with no true way to sustain its people in a healthy, meaningful way, but yet to be blesses with so much more than others. I do not understand however why Caymanians do not demand more of their government. The foreigners have given Cayman the resources to make this a safe, clean, healthy and meaningful home for all. For the most part government has wasted those resources, and the people look the other way. Why? Look around, and I mean really look around. Notice that the successful projects, the functioning businesses, the desirable spaces are all foreign inspired, built and operated, whereas the government projects, plans and programs stand half completed, delayed for years, stand ill planned, ill financed, and ill operated.

    Think carefully my dear Caymanians, the golden goose has many resources, many hard working people dedicated to success. It can fly away as quickly as it landed. Where will Cayman he the?

    You have your future in your hands. DEMAND the BEST of your Government, its leaders and its workers. There is no time like the present to make the accountable to YOU.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hear you but you need to start from one step back….the circumstances these girls home lives are in compel government to remove them. That should not be the default or starting position. Parents are supposed to create a warm, loving environment for their children. You don’t need lots of money to do that. Now I agree the resources at the girls’ home must be addressed. The mysoginistic approach to the needs of women has long been an issue in Cayman but if step 2 is to criticize the government, step 1 is to figure out what the parents are doing.

      • Rodney Barnett IV says:

        A very good point. However where I was going, and perhaps did not explain very well was the fact that if parents were given the proper education, the proper social support in their young lives, they would not be in the position they are. That is having children without a decent job, money in their pockets and the ability to properly raise their offspring. I guess what I really mean is, that like parents, leaders of a country are responsible first for the wellbeing of their countrymen. We cannot be expected to have the ability to maintain good jobs, be good citizens, responsible for ourselves and our family members without having been given a good education, safe healthy environment, many of the tools needed to function in society. True our parents were responsible to ensure we have good values, good morals, and some level of God fearing accountability. But still, in the end it is those who chose to lead the community who bear responsibility for the foundation of society.

      • Anonymous says:

        Funny argument. “Parents are supposed to…”. How are you going to force them ” to create a warm, loving environment for their children.”?
        Perhaps if they could they would have created that loving environment already.
        Break out of collective cultural mind-set you all inherited. Your country as a whole suffers from collective dysfunction. This collective dysfunction has created
        very unhappy and violent people.

    • Anonymous says:

      And you say Cayman doesn’t need the contribution from ex pats to carry this island forward into the next millennium?……….I rest my case!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Goodness me! All these comments about totally out of order Caymanian children and not one blamed Jamaicans or other “outside foreign influences” for the problems. Progress indeed!

  3. Soiled Son says:

    Old School: Sit down, keep your mouth shut, don’t talk until spoken to, be respectful, and behave yourself before you get a lick. I refuse to tolerate any of your nonsense, so don’t event think about dishing any sh1t out – I’ll be rubbing your face in it. You’re a 13 year old punk who has yet to learn your place in society and that you don’t run the show. That’s not how things work around here, got it? We don’t cater to your crap – better learn some manners in a hurry before we bust your ass!

    Effectiveness: 99.9% effective

    New School: I’m really sorry that you had such a rough day. Something must have led you to bash in Lakeesha’s skull. You must have felt truly terrible to have had to pick up that brick to do something like that. We are not perfect. Use this as a learning experience to become a better person. Just because it’s your 79th assault offense that will once again go unpunished, doesn’t mean that you can’t become the person that you truly want to become. The whole world is ahead of you. Set your sights high and aim higher, and next thing you know, you can become that cardiovascular surgeon that you’ve learned about in juvie prison during daytime soap opera hours. I know you can do it. Like, just yesterday, you learned how to tie your shoelaces. Tomorrow, during assembly, we will be sure to recognize this fantastic achievement, provide you with a personalized trophy, and a big wad of cash which you can use to attend Oxford. So tell me, does your finger hurt from gouging Lakeesha’s eyes out – we may have to have it looked at. Poor you, why did Lakeesha have to have such hard eye sockets? If I see her, I’m going to give her a piece of my mind for having injured you so badly. I’m going to suggest that you speak to that psychiatrist that charges us $1000 per hour because he/she can. I’m positive that after 1005 sessions you will think twice about torturing those mean cats – it’s not really your fault. It never is. Don’t worry, the psychiatrist will explain it all to you.

    Effectiveness: Lol

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are you people for real? I use to work with these children and go to court with them to have them placed. Do you know what some of them have done? Do you know what they have exposed their younger siblings too because of their poor choices and behaviors? Yes, they are a product of their environment and that is what is most sad about this.
    Where were all of you judgmental people when you noticed the parents not being around to raise the children or when they ran away because there was inappropriate sexual contact in the yard? Where were you when you saw the child’s mother prostituting herself to your cousin’s brother’s neighbor on a Sunday afternoon… or when daddy decided he wanted three more baby mama’s? What were you asking yourself? What were you doing? What was the community doing when you saw that 10 year old girl at the bar? Unfortunately these children are the products of this society and its values. All of you are to blame. Now these children have to be placed in secure settings as they have not been taught self-respect and acceptable behavior. They have been in trouble with the law since a young age due to violent acts towards others, thievery, etc. They are a danger to themselves or to others. Or now, even worse, there is nowhere to go as no one will foster them after being removed from home. Look in your back yard and stop putting blame at the feet of others for a social issue, you, as a society allowed to happen. It’s so cool to be an American gangsta now a days.

    BTW where was the public out cry when the proposed juvinille home with supports was canned? Tick tick says the clock. Time is ticking for them and you as this is the next generation of Caymanians who are supposed to support you when you are old. They will infiltrate your perfect lives. Spawn with your children and so on. Scary thought. Ps- the staff there are dedicated but underfunded and need continuous inservicing. It’s a stressful job. The kids do receive counseling, privileges and even made to go to school to receive an education. Occasionally one appreciates it. Stop the waste and speak out to save their future and yours. Not truly a bad place. Seen worse.

    • Anonymous says:

      No need to shout. These children are victims, don’t forget that. And if you don’t see that, you should not be working with them.
      Good point about American gangsta, whoever invited one as a role model must be ashamed, but probably won’t even understand why.
      Now, your government doesn’t care about this country’s future and these children are its future​. Your politicians are so dumb that it blows my mind, yet you keep electing them. The professional​ expats are your​ savior, a fresh breath for your conditioned collective cultural minds, yet you are unable to grasp it and campaign against them.
      listen to your political hopeful speeches, do you hear even one word of wisdom?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman’s politicians have consistently failed to look after the country’s most vulnerable citizens be they children, the elderly, the disabled. This is horrifying to read but should come as no surprise to anyone. Until Cayman’s voters require their politicians to actually care about necessary facilities like this one and to fund, regulate and monitor them properly, nothing will change. Government just keeps squandering its funds and expecting the private sector to pick up the slack for its incompetence. Something has to give, and unfortunately in the case of these underprivileged and troubled young girls, it is their hope for a better future.

  6. observer says:

    For the records I have worked at the FBGH doing various repairs and whilst there are critical reviews being posted please understand that these are girls that the families couldn’t handle and the court became involved and placed them into a facility with strict rules and guidelines. Having been to this facility you hear the saying “see me come live with me” some of these girls are rude and out of order and always wanting to try and escape and not follow rules. remember whilst the grass seems greener on the other side it may only be just that seems. The good men and women of Cays foundation has done and continues to do a great job and I can tell one and all that the gentleman incharge is always putting on training classes for all staff and they really try to do a good job. Hats of to the Cays crew keep your heads up high.

    • Been there, done that! says:

      I would like to comment on this from two perspectives.

      1. As someone who was placed in a similar situation in my rebellious youth, I can attest to the fact that these places seem like a PRISON because they ARE one for youth who have been discipline problems, chronic runaways or have come before the courts due to involvement in drugs and committing CRIMES. They are sent here BY COURT ORDER and must be contained under these circumstances. They are being handled as juveniles, where criminal charges as ADULTS would have them in Northward. Is that what these bleeding hearts would prefer? It’s called “tough love” because that is the only thing that is understood by many of these “wayward” young people in most cases.

      2. I have also worked as a contractor within the CAYS organization and by and large those housed within that organization are there for a REASON. They frequently “act out” and are verbally and even physically abusive to their caregivers. That is why they are placed there! It is an effort to rehabilitate their behaviours BEFORE they wind up before the adult courts and are then “placed” at Northward. I myself have been taunted and verbally insulted by several of the young people in these facilities in the course of my work. I have also seen the level of concern and care exhibited by the staff employed there.

      I would fully expect to hear from former residents that they felt constrained in that environment, as that was the very PURPOSE for it. I hated being in that environment myself at the time, and felt very angry at it during that period. However, the result of it was that I have lived a productive and CRIME FREE life in the decades that followed. I am a glaring success story for such efforts to correct “wayward youth” before they become criminal adults. I cannot imagine how my life would have been different had I not had the intervention imposed to correct my (then) bad ways.

      Before you judge a programme such as this, consider the difficult task of dealing with rebellious youth and the alternative of allowing their “bad ways” to continue into adulthood and PRISON. The programme at CAYS is carefully planned and has “steps” (much like AA) which each resident (IE client) must master to change their ways and become a reasoning and productive member of society. Consider the alternative and the need for more prison guards and cells – what a waste of potential!

      Been there, done that!

      • Anonymous says:

        Then call it as it is, a juvenile corrective facility, not children’s home. Separate them from the environment, send them overseas to facilities that have proven success track record. Your government can afford it. How hard it is to understand that unless they are removed from the environment for few years, nothing will change. Their minds need time to get reconditioned and it only happens in a different cultural environment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Always obtain facts before commenting on FB posts. I have seen so many people agree and comment on fake news. Really makes you look stupid.

    On this occasion I believe the Ministry the home is not perfect but it’s hard to create a home for children that do not want to be home.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am sure that the families of the young ladies can take over their care at any time they wish. Or is it easier to throw blame elsewhere?

  9. Sharkey says:

    CNS , Can you please put a little more public emphasis on this subject . I think that whoever is responsible for the care of these Children needs to be held accountable and responsible to these Children and society. What is happening to these kid should not be happening to the kids , it is bad enough to have the bad parents that brought the kids in the world , then if we don’t correct these kids then we would have them bring more like them in the world . Then we would have a problem three times the size .

  10. Jennie Sanchez says:

    So SAD! smh

  11. Sharkey says:

    I also think that it is very disturbing that the Minister would say that a lot more work needs to be done today , after all these years that the Frances Bodden Children Home has been established .
    I think that the boss doesn’t care or know how to run the program.
    The Children Home .
    The Minister needs to ask the question , why are these kids here ? Then the Minister would see and know and understand what has to be done to help these kids . But you can’t take these kids from a broken home and put them back in another broken home .

    I think that the politicians / government should be ashamed of themselves to have these kinds of programs in place for the people and not making sure that they are ran professionally and effectively .

    I think that all the politicians cares about is putting these programs in place to be able to say , look at what I did come Election time .

    • Anonymous says:

      To one and all. If those children were angels and did not come from broken homes, you have a point but we all know they are not angels. Their parents could not control them and you are expecting for their caregivers to wear kid gloves, knee down and beg and beseech them to improve behavior/actions.
      All our people are good for is to lay blame at another persons feet. Instead of being so critically vocal, try and extend your caring skills to those who have not yet been placed in the FBGH. Help one, save many.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:54am. The employees in the department are responsible for the running of the homes. That’s why their are social workers. Never heard of Ministers running government departments, they are responsible for ensuring that laws are in place and finances are approved. Maybe you know of a previous Minister/Boss who ruled 3 Ministries.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This place is a prison for children! As a past resident, I remember not even being able to go outside to get fresh air. I remember bars on the windows and locks on the fridge and pantry.

    This place needs a face lift or needs to be shut down. The people working there have no damn idea how to care for troubled kids.

    • Shane says:

      What’s a place to do when leaving doors open meaning people leaving at their choice? Put a 10 foot fence up? I’m not doubting that some improvement can be done, but if you once lived there, you should know first hand some of the struggles that it takes to work there. Please don’t act like the workers are the only problem. And if you can do such a better job, please go work there yourself! Put some action in, instead of just running your mouth. Im sure there is wrong on both sides, but I doubt all of the blame is only on one.

    • annonymous says:

      I use to work with a CIG Dept. so spent a good amount of hours at FBG Homes for a period years back.

      The children were allowed out for exercise and on trips to the cinema etc. They also attended sports camps and many other happenings in the community that was fitting.

      There is and was always room for improvement so I am not saying all was perfect then, but to say the children were locked away and treated poorly would be an outright lie.

      I cannot speak for what might be taking place now, as I no longer work at the same place, but do know that children attend camps and other programs in the community to some degree.

      However the individuals concerned that is posting things on fb, should go to the proper authorities and have the DCFS investigate these allegations.

      This serious if it is so. This way they can be laid to rest or intervened on right away, for the betterment of the children if they are really not being treated right.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There should be surveillance cameras in all of these facilities. The elderly and the children are very vulnerable in these places and they can’t talk. People would be surprised to know what goes on in these places.

  14. Anonymous says:

    And the beat goes on…

  15. Anonymous says:

    The government is failing the people of this country as children who are neglected by parents are further neglected by the country and have no support. Our schools are shitty and lack discipline and respect. Yet we wonder why we have so much crime here?

    • Shane says:

      Completely agree!

    • Only God can save us now says:

      Well everyone rushed forward to grasp development and most of everyone forgot about the core values such as: love one another, the village raising all children, go to Church and serve God not man or material things! We exchanged our Christian upbringing for that of the ways of “all things from foreign”, became so selfish and now we’re wondering what has happened and quick to blame others/everyone else for our troubles, we now face….I’m sure you were told “don’t covet the Jones, because you didn’t know how the Jones’ got what they have”. Caymanians, take a good look at (the people) who are succeeding in these Islands and ask yourself why are we not in the majority or why is it not my “Caymanian” neighbours and family who own this business or gone to that College/University or made partner in this Company or have the big homes or made their fortune by their own innovation or hardwork or hold the supervisor positions in the many businesses. Yes, I agree we have some very successful “Caymanians”, but really we have far more who don’t have much…not even a job. It’s time we stop throwing the baby out with the bath water and expecting different results!! Here we are in another election time, make it your best endeavour to vote for the person that makes the most contribution to the Cayman Islands and the “Caymanian” people and don’t vote for Joe because you don’t like John. Ask Jill the big hard questions of how will they make change that will be beneficial to all the Caymanians, not just you alone and do the same to Jane. Come May 24th, we the people are the most powerful and they, the candidates, are the lest but after the polls close and the results are in…THEY ARE IN CHARGE and we are back to complaining, shaking and scratching our heads, asking how could it be or what has happened when we have voted for our friend or neighbour or the candidate who gave you, mama, daddy, uncle & auntie this or that!!! GOD is good all the time and ALL the time GOD is good…tried, tested and proven to be true!! RESEARCH your candidate, ask your hardest question(s) ( anything(s) that needs to be worked on or tackled or improved or implemented or done away with or stood up for or against, that will impact the WHOLE community not just about you and yours) then research their answer(s) and Pray for discernment and wisdom to make the right choice when you enter the voting booth on that morning!! I’ve made my choice but still ask God to show me the right one or if my choice IS the right one, that they will win and stay true to all that is good and righteous. I have not forgotten what an awesome God He is and I pray for our beloved Islands and the good people here. I pray He doesn’t forget us!!!!

    • frangipani says:

      it is not Government’s job to raise anyone’s children. That is the God given responsibility of the parents, both parents at that. Parents should be proper parents and not sperm donors and birth-givers. Not to get pregnant or impregnate just to hold on to your partner. Once this this is instilled at a very early age people and society as a whole would be much better off.
      Women should not get pregnant just ‘to keep my man”
      It is time for all parents to take stalk of their attitude and take full responsibility for their actions and stop expecting Government to raise their children.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is very disturbing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ohhh, you have no idea.

      This place is rotten with all sorts of nasty behavior and cover-ups.

      • Been there, done that! says:

        Proof please!

        You can’t rely on the “feelings” of those whose bad behaviour and rebellion has placed them there. It is the failing of proper parental supervision and guidance that places young people there. Many of these young people have suffered horrendous abuse in their home life, so what do you expect of them? They should be proud and happy in the environment their misbehaviour has put them?? Not bloody likely!

        I had nothing good to say about my experiences at the time, as it took away my freedom for nearly 3 years at a time that young people normally enjoy life the most.

        Had I not been given more than a little “tough love” and less than gentle care at this time, I would likely have had a much less successful life. It is better than becoming a “lifer” at Northward, either in one sentence or many due to recidivism that is so common. These aren’t “little darlings,” as many behave like “hood rats & thugs” at such an early age and need every bit of the correction they get.

        But then there is always Northward….

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