New home for special needs children

| 30/11/2020 | 5 Comments
Habakkuk House

(CNS): A new government-owned children’s home has opened to improve the residential provision for kids with special needs and separate them from adults. Habakkuk House is an eight-bed facility for boys and girls up to 17 years old, operated by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). With its opening, four children from Maple House can now be housed separately from adults with special needs, which has taken government “much longer” than eight years to achieve.

The home was formally opened by government officials earlier this month on Universal Children’s Day. It is a single-storey house with a landscaped garden, en suite bathrooms and screened activity patio, providing a welcoming and caring home environment for children with special needs requiring care and protection, officials said in a release.

In the press release about the opening, Ministry of Community Affairs Chief Officer Teresa Echenique said Habakkuk House, a biblical name meaning “embrace”, is a safe haven for its residents to develop, flourish and discover their potential.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who as community affairs minister has ultimate responsibility, said it had taken two administrations to accomplish the acquisition and refurbishment of the home. However, given the need for separate housing facilities for adults and children with special needs, this had been a goal of the Cayman Islands Government for much longer than that, he said.

“The care of the most vulnerable in our society has needed to come along very quickly because for a long time much of that sector of our society really did not get anywhere near the amount and quality of care they deserved,” he said.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Emma says:

    Why wasn’t the money be spent on this house (I don’t think it looks very homely with its hospital doors!) be directed towards including these children within the pre-existing homes for all children? Why a segregated setting away from other children on account of disability? I hope the home ensures focus on the many ways these children need to feel included within this community and not segregate them further. These children should be with other children so they can all learn and grow together. This makes me sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      Imagine, it not looking homely with its hospital doors! Errrr, I think that ramp entrance may be more useful for the residents than a homely looking one, but that’s just me.

  2. Jenny says:

    They are children with special needs, not special needs children. They are children first and foremost.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some good news for a change. I thank the government for making this happen.

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