(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.
Category: Local News