The capacity of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) to provide psychosocial support to at-risk children has been boosted with the certification of 24 of its social workers in clinical social work.
The newly certified personnel, who are equipped to provide the necessary intervention to promote the mental and social well-being of more than 6,500 wards of the State, were presented with their certificates at a virtual graduation ceremony on Wednesday (January 13).
The eight-month developmental course, which started last June, was facilitated by The Mico University College, with funding of $2,685,500 from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) under the ninth cycle of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CBD) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF-9th).
It covered modules such as Approaches to Clinical Social Work, Child Psychopathology, Conflict Management, Human Sexuality Issues, Dealing with Grief and Trauma, Ethical and Legal Issues in Social Work and Clinical Counselling Skills, and Techniques for Social Workers.
Director of Children and Family Programmes at CPFSA, Audrey Budhi, in congratulating the graduates noted that they will be using their newly acquired skills to help children deal with the various challenges that have been brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I just want to say we are relying on you, we are depending on you to help to maintain the well-being of our children… . It’s a time that if they didn’t need us before, they need us now and together we can make it happen,” she said.
President of The Mico University College, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, said that the institution is pleased to have been part of a partnership to equip the participants with valuable skills that will benefit the nation’s children.
He encouraged the social workers to “consider this certification a boost to your social intervention superpower because you are, indeed, supermen and superwomen”.
General Manager in charge of Finance at JSIF, Orville Hill, in extending commendations to the graduates, noted that the training is significant in providing adequate and timely psychosocial support to children across Jamaica, especially those who are wards of the State.
He said that children are especially vulnerable as the world experiences the pandemic, and need the type of interventions that the training will enable.
Guest speaker and senior education officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Kennecy Davidson, charged the newly skilled social workers to not only ensure that they are agents of change but that they are also changed agents.
She told them that they have the power to change lives in a positive way, which can impact an entire community and make the difference in the life of a nation.
Ms. Davidson urged the graduates in carrying out their duties to ensure that children see them as a source of love and hope.
“Make the wards see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” she added.
Locksan West Russell, who responded on behalf of all the graduates, said that “we have learnt a lot and I know we will be taking these new approaches as we cater to the needs of the individuals whom we serve”.