An additional 150 social workers are to be employed by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) to meet the growing needs of the sector.
This was announced by State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, at the agency’s virtual quarterly press briefing on April 21.
Mr. Morgan said this is part of the second phase of the merger of the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) to form the CPFSA.
“We are happy to announce that we are very far in the process of moving to phase two of the merger, and that phase involves the employment of an additional 150 social workers,” he noted.
Mr. Morgan said the agency continues work to strengthen the child protection sector, citing the upgrading of facilities as a primary objective.
“It is a key priority in the strategic plans and policies of the Government and the CPFSA,” he said.
As part of these efforts, the agency has commissioned several internal and external safety reviews and audits to assess the current facilities, including any safety and security concerns and are making recommendations to Central Government to make improvements.
“One of the areas identified is the upgrading of fire-safety equipment and training for children and staff in fire safety. This recommendation is being actioned through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Education and Supreme Ventures Foundation for the upgrading of fire-safety equipment in children’s homes across the island to the tune of $40 million over three years,” Mr. Morgan noted.
To date, he said, improvement work has been completed at 15 homes, with another 15 being undertaken currently.
The State Minister said other improvements being considered are the installation of solar energy solutions in some children’s homes. The concept paper is being prepared by the CPFSA.
Mr. Morgan said the CPFSA will partner with the Human Employment and Resource Training/National Service Training Agency (HEART/NSTA) Trust to provide training and certification for all staff members working in residential childcare homes.