Ministry assessing care at children’s homes
January 9, 2003
The Probation and Welfare Department of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is presently conducting a review of the management and activities of all children’s homes throughout the country. Head of the Welfare Department Ann Green says this is to assess and improve the quality of care.
Green told Stabroek News that the Ministry has the responsibility for monitoring these homes and that the current review began last year and is now being intensified.
Supervisory visits to these institutions are being stepped up to determine how they are being run and to identify areas where they may be found wanting. In such a circumstance, she said, the Department would work with the institution to correct the problem.
Among the homes being reviewed, is the Sad’r Boys Orphanage, from where 14-year-old Raheem Abdool had gone missing one day before his battered body was discovered on December 17 on the Liliendaal Railway Embankment.
Meanwhile a report on Abdool’s background is to be submitted to Human Services Minister Bibi Shadick.
Green said this particular incident was the cause of much concern for her department, but maintained that it was not the reason her department was becoming more involved. Green was unwilling to say how many children’s homes there were in Guyana or how many children were being cared for without first getting permission from Minister Shadick. Stabroek News understands there are at least nine children’s homes, three of which are in Berbice.
She said during the past year, with the assistance of UNICEF, the Ministry held two workshops for caregivers from these institutions. She also said evaluations of caregivers were also done to ensure that they were meeting the required standards.
Another reason cited for this review Green said, is also to fulfill Guyana’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Guyana is a signatory.