THE committee responsible for children's homes in Tobago is being challenged to ensure the highest standards are implemented at the facilities across the island.
The Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development (DHWFD) councillor Tracy Davidson-Celestine urged the new nine-member Facilities Review Committee to be relentless in their pursuit of standards. "Stop at nothing in ensuring that you follow the national, international and THA standards and policies in ensuring those homes are organised,” she said at their installation according to a media release.
The Facilities Review Committee – Homes for Children committee oversees the standards and operational quality of the three children’s homes and Syl Phyl Home in Love, Community Residence for Children, Probation Hostel as well as children nurseries. The committee was installed at the Division’s Head Office in Scarborough on September 22 and will serve for one year.
Davidson-Celestine congratulated the members for accepting the challenge and the opportunity to serve. “Our mandate is to treat with those who are vulnerable in our society. Our social professionals are out in the communities assisting persons who are faced with quite a number of issues. Your task is to ensure that those homes are safe as possible for children.”
The committee members are: Audrey George, chairman; Khaleed Westfield, deputy chairman; Learie K Tobias, Germaine Alfred-Taylor, Kester Bonas, Lorine Joefield, Andy Clarke-Maxwell, Arlette Boucher-Nichols and Kelsey Toussaint-Reid.
Councillor Nadine Stewart-Phillips, assistant secretary also thanked the committee and reminded members that: “The onus is on all of us to safeguard and protect the future generation especially those who find themselves in broken homes or have fallen prey to social ills.”
DHFWD’s administrator Cherryl-Ann Solomon stressed the importance of teamwork and working together, the release said. “Know your purpose. We are willing to do what is necessary to ensure our children are well taken care of.”
The Facilities Review Committee - Homes for Children was established in May 2017 to treat with inspection, assessment and reporting on all homes for children in Tobago, to ensure the facilities meet the required standards to advise the authorities of any necessary interventions needed.
In accepting her second term as chairman of this committee, Audrey George thanked the members of the previous committee for their service and accomplishments. That committee secured certification from the Children’s Authority and ensured the homes passed public health inspection. The homes are also in the final stages of being licensed for two years by the Children’s Authority.