HFC supports child abuse prevention

Hedge Funds Care Cayman recently granted the Department of Education Services US$75,000 in support of the second phase of a school-based longitudinal study and intervention programme, which is designed to support the development and maintenance of child abuse prevention and intervention programmes in the Cayman Islands.

This follows an award of over US$50,000 by HFCC at the beginning of the year to fund the initial start-up phase of the project.

This new programme is the result of recognition by the Education Ministry that no comprehensive study of the issue has previously been undertaken in the Cayman Islands and that traditional approaches to the problem have enjoyed limited success, largely because of their fragmented nature.

The Ministry is keen to use the Hedge Funds Care Cayman grants to research the full range of child protection risk factors, which impact upon learning outcomes, Education Minister Alden McLaughlin said.

‘We acknowledge that a student’s education may be adversely affected by a wide range of social risk factors such as abuse, neglect, domestic violence and poverty. It is critical for us to understand the full impact of these threats on children and how to mitigate them in order to remove all barriers to learning,’ he said.

Chairman of Hedge Funds Care Cayman Peter Cockhill, is in full support of the Ministry’s efforts.

“Hedge Funds Care Cayman is delighted to support this initiative as it will not only provide accurate data on the level of incidence of child abuse in the Cayman Islands, but it will also provide an intervention mechanism that will support those children in need and their families,’ he said. ‘One of the best places to reach children directly is through the school system and this initiative will enable administrators to provide the attention and treatment where it is most needed.’

The school-based study and intervention project, which is led by Brent Holt, head of student services at the Department of Education Services, has been running since January. Its purpose is to determine the effects of measures that include research-proven child abuse prevention education and intervention activities for young children.

‘The results of the study will allow us to identify trends in educational gain and psychological development over time and provide us with a solid base for making decisions about on-going interventions,’ he said. ‘The project will be conducted in the context of ‘learning communities’, and will involve schools working with parents and other community members and agencies.’

Mr. Cockhill adds, ‘Because this is a multi-year project, it will provide a benchmark for programmes aimed at treating child abuse and neglect as well as opportunities for the creation of different treatment and prevention programmes”.

Minister McLaughlin says that, ‘Our intentions for this study are to ensure that systems among schools and multiple community agencies are firmly established and clearly structured to protect the interests of children in the Cayman Islands.’

He also said that the project is a testament to the power of partnerships in the community.

‘This is a classic example of how support from our business community can make a very real difference to the lives of young people. We acknowledge with gratitude the support offered by Hedge Funds Care Cayman in furthering Cayman’s education system in its mission to provide the best possible opportunities for all our young people,’ he said.

Hedge Funds Care Cayman is an association of prime brokers, attorneys, accountants, information providers, investors and managers. Since 1998 the international Hedge Funds Care Family has distributed over $15,000,000 to charities worldwide through a competitive grant process, in which funds are awarded to community-based non-profit organisations that focus on the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

Funds are raised through annual benefits, the most recent of which in Cayman was in November 2007 when the HFCC hosted its fourth annual benefit to support community-based non-profit organisations focused on the prevention and treatment of child abuse.

Hedge Funds Care Cayman is committed to building community resources and funding activities that strengthen vulnerable families. It supports initiatives which preserve the integrity of the family without jeopardising child safety, enhance permanency planning, improve foster care and adoption, and provide clinical treatment to victims as well as support to family members. Hedge Funds Care Cayman is also committed to enhancing awareness within the community about the problem of abuse, particularly among children, in order to facilitate disclosure and break the cycle.