|St Jude’s, St Michael’s to become rehab centres |
Wednesday, August 26 2015
THE State spends in excess of $20 million annually to care for 217 children in State-run children’s homes while Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) struggle with a grants of a meagre $25,000 annually to take care of 600 children. The startling difference tells a story Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray admitted yesterday.
The disclosure was made by the former Gender, Youth and Child Development Minister who delivered the feature address on behalf of current minister Clifton De Coteau at the formal opening of Ste Madeleine Male Transition Home, Osbourne Lane, Ste Madeleine.
He did not attend due to illness.
Coudray said, “When you compare the difference in care, it tells you a story so we need to really look at how we provide care through these homes.” Yesterday, the first ever Male Transition Centre was opened in Ste Madeleine and will cater to young men between 18 to 24 years who are still in the care of the State but have left the guardianship of the community residence or children’s homes.
Yesterday, Coudray also revealed that until the country’s first male and female rehabilitation centres, expected to be constructed in Aripo for boys and girls who run afoul of the law, are completed, Cabinet has agreed that the St Michael’s School for Boys in Diego Martin and the St Jude’s Home for Girls in Belmont will serve as the interim rehabilitation facilities.
According to Coudray, a Cabinet- appointed committee has been successful in working with the management of St Jude’s School for Girls to elevate its standard of care in keeping with the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CATT) standards of rehabilitation centres.
She said, “I am pleased to report that this work has been progressing steadily and out of the 56 standards, 96 percent have been met and the school is soon to be registered with the Authority.” The same approach, Coudray said, will be applied to the revamping of the St Michael’s School for Boys.
Coudray added, “It should be noted that work has already begun to ensure that the school can provide the caring and supportive environment needed by its residents, the physical infrastructure is also being upgraded to meet all licencing requirements.” Saying that children of both schools will be assessed by CATT and all the steps will be taken to ensure that they be provided with the appropriate care. Coudray went on to say that the children’s legislation has begun to work as the children’s authority has been approached by courts of Trinidad and Tobago to “find appropriate alternative care facilities for the children currently residing in the Youth Training Centre (YTC). “The Authority is working assiduously toward that end with the ministry’s unequivocal support,” she said.