Action plan for children’s homes nearing Cabinet /

The ac­tion plan to im­prove care at chil­dren’s homes is one step clos­er to re­ceiv­ing Cab­i­net ap­proval.

Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter tasked with Child and Gen­der Af­fairs, Ayan­na Web­ster-Roy, said on Wednes­day, «The work plan is cur­rent­ly be­ing re­viewed by the Fi­nance and Gen­er­al Pur­pos­es Com­mit­tee (F&GP).»

Fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the con­di­tions at chil­dren’s homes con­duct­ed by the Jus­tice Ju­dith Jones com­mit­tee, which com­menced in June 2021, rec­om­men­da­tions on im­prov­ing child­care were sub­mit­ted to the Min­is­ter in De­cem­ber of that year.

In May 2022, a task force was ap­point­ed to de­vel­op a plan for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions con­tained in the Ju­dith Jones re­port.

That plan was hand­ed over to the min­is­ter on June 17. At the time, Web­ster-Roy said it will be sent to Cab­i­net for its con­sid­er­a­tion.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day, the min­is­ter con­firmed that the rec­om­men­da­tions will be im­ple­ment­ed as soon as they re­ceive Cab­i­net ap­proval af­ter re­view by the F&GP.

How­ev­er, Web­ster-Roy said plans have al­ready been put in mo­tion even as ap­proval is pend­ing.

«I wish to re­it­er­ate that sev­er­al key rec­om­men­da­tions per­tain­ing to mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­at­ing of homes are be­ing ac­tive­ly im­ple­ment­ed. Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions are al­so on­go­ing,» she said.

When Guardian Me­dia asked what will be the first or­der of busi­ness fol­low­ing Cab­i­net’s green light, Web­ster-Roy said, «I would rather an­nounce that as soon as I re­ceive Cab­i­net ap­proval on the work plan.»

Guardian Me­dia at­tempt­ed to get an­oth­er up­date from the min­is­ter giv­en that Cab­i­net usu­al­ly meets to­day (Thurs­day), but Web­ster-Roy said she is cur­rent­ly on va­ca­tion.

One mem­ber of the Ju­dith Jones in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee yes­ter­day told Guardian Me­dia he is heart­ened to know the process is on­go­ing and is re­ceiv­ing the at­ten­tion and re­sources it de­serves.

How­ev­er, gen­der ex­pert Mar­cus Kissoon says trans­paren­cy is key at this time.

«Dur­ing the plan­ning and agen­da-set­ting process, it would be strate­gic and ac­count­able for the state to keep the pub­lic aware of the stages, tasks and next steps, while main­tain­ing ethics and con­fi­den­tial­i­ty. The state has a du­ty to in­volve the pub­lic and stake­hold­ers in con­sul­ta­tions in the de­vel­op­ment of ac­tions,» Kissoon said.

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian

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