Cayman Brac’s Department of Children and Family Services hosted a visit from top government officials last week, affording staff an opportunity to bring issues affecting their community to the fore.
The Grand Cayman delegation, including Minister for Health and Human Services Anthony Eden, Permanent Secretary for H&HS Andrea Bryan and the Director for Children and Family Services Deanna Look Loy, also discussed the department’s future needs.
Topics included the impact of Cayman Brac’s high living costs, the need for additional office space for the department and housing for the elderly.
However, it was concern for the island’s youth that topped the list of pressing matters.
‘We desperately need something for the youth – a place to go after school, activities to participate in, something to give them a purpose,’ said Social Worker Supervisor Kerry Parchment. ‘And if that will mean we have to give up any additional space to satisfy that need and stay in our cramped offices a while longer, then we will.’
Equally concerned about the Brac’s young people, Community Development Officer Annie Rose Scott said that with the necessary funding, they could start after school programmes such as arts, drama and music. ‘We have enough people in the community that can teach these subjects. All we need is a jumpstart.’
Mr. Eden pledged his ministry’s support for proposed youth and community programmes.
‘The youth represent our future and deserve to have their needs addressed. I would like to see the different government departments consolidating their programmes for them so we can maximize available resources.’
He said he is intent on raising the profile of community development.
‘Community development and social services should complement each other. An active community development officer can lighten the burden considerably for the Department of Children and Family Services through dealing with social issues before they reach critical proportions,’ he said.
The remainder of the day was spent calling on the residents of Stake Bay Home, the Kirkconnell Community Care Centre and Faith Hospital. The visit concluded with a meeting with the Brac’s new counsellor, Joachim Skye at the Brac Haven – Sister Islands Counselling Centre.