BRADES – As part of the 2015-16 budgetary aid settlement agreed between the Government of Montserrat and DFID, £253,000 or about EC$1,000,000, has been ring fenced for child safeguarding, His Excellency Governor Adrian Davis announced recently.
During his monthly press briefing on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the governor said the funds “will cover measures such as payments for foster carers; establishment of a family centre; the use (on a call-down contract basis) of an experienced family lawyer to support the process of safeguarding cases through the court system; specialist child abuse investigation training for the police, including forensic examination of mobile phones and computer equipment; special measures to improve the integration of Spanish-speaking children in the community, including formal teaching of English as a foreign language; recruitment of two school guidance counsellors; and continuing the public campaign to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and exploitation.”
Governor Davis also added that work on the draft Child Care and Protection Bill will be undertaken by the Office of the Attorney General as soon as they have finished with the draft Housing Bill which is currently the top priority. “Progress on establishment of a Child Safeguarding Board has been limited to gathering information. In the region, only Barbados has established such a Board. The Department of Social Services is also contacting St Helena so that they can share the terms of reference for, and composition of, the Board that was established there.”
Ms Elaine Ryan in the Department of Social Services is leading the programme to improve the safety of the island’s children with social and media programmes as well as training and collaboration with all relevant Government agencies.