Residents of Tivoli Gardens, in West Kingston, turned out today (June 25), to participate in counselling sessions organised by officers of the Child Development Agency (CDA).
The sessions, which took the form of one-on-one and group meetings, targeted children aged 13 to 17 years who are out of school as well as parents, and were held at the Church of the Open Bible, Spanish Town Road, in Kingston.
In an interview with JIS News, Director of the South East Region, Child Development Agency, Noel Stennett, said that this group was targeted, so they could voice their concerns resulting from the operations of the security forces in sections of West Kingston, last month.
Children’s Officer, Child Development Agency (CDA), Andrea Vassel, counselling children of Tivoli Gardens, at the Church of the Open Bible, Spanish Town Road in Kingston, today (June 25).
“We are mindful of the fact that these young people, in particular, are outside of the formal system and where there are other initiatives being organised for children who are in school, this particular group falls outside the ambit of those interventions,” he said.
He explained that the sessions sought to provide the individuals with the means of coping with the difficulties and emotional trauma which they would have faced, and help them to move forward.
“Going forward, we would want to identify those individuals who are having serious post-traumatic stress signs and to refer those to a group of psychologists and psychiatrists who have been kind enough to offer their services, free of cost, for a limited period to deal with this group of youngsters,” he told JIS News.
In addition to that, he said, it is anticipated that the agency will find individuals who may also need other services of the CDA. “From the walk-about, for example, we found that there might be youngsters who lost their homes.and they are moving around from one place to the other, without being anchored. It may be necessary for us to do some measure of intervention there, to determine whether we can find other family members with whom to reintegrate them, or they may spend some time in one of the
Regional Director, South East Region, Child Development Agency, Noel Stennett speaking with JIS News about counselling sessions for residents of Tivoli Gardens, held today (June 25), at the Church of the Open Bible, Spanish Town Road, in Kingston.
children’s facilities until they can sort out that kind of difficulty that they are having,” Mr. Stennett said.
Children’s Officer, CDA, Sandra Notice Thomas, informed that the counsellors were drawn from within the CDA, adding that a training session in grief counselling was undertaken two weeks ago for a number of persons from various agencies associated with Child Welfare. Other counsellors who have offered their service are from the Association of Psychologists and Psychiatrists.
The counselling sessions resulted from a two-day walk about (home-to-home visits) in West Kingston by members of the CDA.
Some of the objectives of the CDA are: to safeguard children from becoming at risk through advocacy of child rights and the development of public awareness of children’s issues; to provide necessary and appropriate interventions for children who have been identified as at risk from neglect, abuse, trauma, disability or any other factor; and to ensure safety, security, growth and development of children and young people in the care of the State.