Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Retreat planned for St Michael boys
Some children of the St Michael School for Boys, who have the privilege of customary homeleave, will be allowed to leave the facility during the July/August vacation period while the remainder will be taken on a retreat. This was revealed by the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development in a press release on Wednesday. Declining to reveal where and when the retreat will take place, ministry officials said that venture would be done by a team of qualified experts to treat with the issues of healing and restoring confidence.
The measures are being adopted during the transition period until the Children Act of 2012 is proclaimed in September, which will allow the Children’s Authority to function as the regulatory body for the home. In that capacity, the authority will assess all children in homes to determine the suitability of placement and where placement is unsuitable, a recommendation would be made to the court on the best course of corrective action. A monitoring committee, chaired by the director of National Family Services, who functions as the Inspector of Industrial Schools and Orphanages continues, along with the implementation of the modernisation programme at the orphanages.
Meanwhile, the report containing the findings of the probe into Brandon Hargreaves’ death has been referred to the Statutory Authorities Commission, which is responsible for taking disciplinary action against staff members as they see fit. Ministry officials met with board members for the St Michael’s School for Boys and the St Mary’s Children’s Home on Wednesday and agreed on a number of measures. The ministry said the meeting was to determine “the way forward in light of recent issues highlighted in the preliminary report dealing with the Brandon Hargreaves matter.”
The meeting which focused on improving the governance arrangements and specific reporting systems at both institutions, also sought to strengthen the partnership between the ministry and the boards of management. It was also revealed the board of St Michael’s has agreed to revisit its current business plan to make a determination on service delivery areas where it could make the best contribution. A professional analysis of the files of all residents, are to be used by suitable experts. such as social workers and psychologists, to build individual care and rehabilitation plans for each resident, it was stated.