Improving childcare a priority – Minister Persaud
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud hosted an informal engagement with the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) officers on Thursday.
The discussions centered around resolving the challenges that are peculiar to the Regions and the way forward for the Ministry and CPA both structurally and policy-wise to make the system more efficient and effective.
Minister Persaud reiterated that it was a good time and the perfect opportunity to have these discussions on how the services can be better while committing to supporting and facilitating the development of this sector and stated, “we are working on avenues on how we can improve the system…”
“I believe one thing that should propel us forward and that should continue to motivate us and energize us is our passion and love for children. Love for children can never be manufactured, love for children has to come from deep within,” Minister Persaud said.
Minister Persaud said the Ministry is working on increasing shelters for children in the Hinterland Region as well as the amplified approach to partnering with the community through the ‘Every child safe’ campaign.
Meanwhile, the subject Minister praised the efforts of CPA Director, Ann Greene for her stewardship and dedication, not only with leadership but her passion and drive.
Recognizing that mental health is a challenge, Minister Persaud revealed that there will be an agreement inked to provide free counseling to the officers.
“If you feel challenged and pressured to the extent that your mental health is affected, do not be afraid to reach out and ask for this service, in the world we live in, if we do not take care of ourselves, no one will but in this ministry, we will, we want to ensure that this is offered to you for you.”
Minister Persaud indicated that discussions are already in place between Permanent Secretary, Shannielle Hoosein-Outar and Principal Personnel Officer, Rafael Boodhoo to address staffing issues.
With nine Masters of Social Work graduates, the Minister expressed her delight in hearing about their upward mobility in academia, with a pledge to see as much as possible they can be best utilized and contribute more towards childcare development.
Greene highlighted that while the entity moved from its establishment in 2009 with a director and four borrowed social work officers to now having 180 staff and seven units, it is still evolving.
The Director reckoned with much certainty that the childcare officers were the hardest social workers and was met with an arousing round of applause.
Greene, who has over 50 years in the public service pointed out that having certificates does not make you qualified but rather the experience and passion. She admitted that improvements are always needed and officers should be cognizant of their responsibilities to the child.
She urged them to be solutions-based and results oriented with planning and time management key pillars of their modus operandi.
Presentations, strategies and data came from each region, the Family Court Unit, Early Childhood Development Unit, Adoption, Foster Care and Family Support Services Units.
Manager of Childhood Development, Comcheeta Gray stated that her issues were addressed by the honorable Minister. Gray said, “I think the Minister is very much into early childhood and yes I think our issues and concerns were resolved.”
Kaycina Jadrine, Manager of Adoption Services said, “the interaction with the honorable Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud was an excellent one. We believe that is a forum where officers can contact the Minister directly and properly engage her and she is clearer on some of the issues we have at the Child Care and Protection Agency and we have already started to come up with ideas and initiatives on how we can better improve our services so I believe this is a great one.” (Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Press Release)