JIS News

Story Highlights

  • CDA has put in place a team of first responders to provide counselling and welfare support to children, families, and communities affected by trauma.
  • The first responders attend the scene of incidents where, for example children have lost parents or homes to natural or man-made disasters.
  • A group of first responders have been providing counselling and other support to children and their families who have been affected by recent tragic events in St. James.

The Child Development Agency (CDA) has put in place a team of first responders to provide counselling and welfare support to children, families, and communities affected by trauma.

The first responders attend the scene of incidents where, for example children have lost parents or homes to natural or man-made disasters. This is in order to protect the best interest of the child.

Providing a practical example of how this critical resource is being applied, Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey disclosed that a group of first responders have been providing counselling and other support to children and their families who have been affected by recent tragic events in St. James.

“We have been on the ground, meeting with the families and going into the communities to provide support with other stakeholders in the areas,” she told JIS News.

She said bereavement counselling sessions have been held with the families, and children of the affected schools, where the CDA has been working along with other counsellors from the Ministry of Education.

“They go in with victim support and the police as support, so they have visited all the locations that have been affected over the last three weeks,” she added.

The CEO said early intervention such as this, prevents children from ending up in state care.  “When we talk to children who are in our care, most of them experience violence before and it wasn’t treated, there was no bereavement counselling and it is presented later on as behavioural issues,” she said.

“So our plan is to get in very early, assess the situation, if they need support and if we need to refer them to other entities then we do that referral as well,” she added.