School For At Risk Children Still On Cards

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Government is still contemplating the establishment of a residential facility for children at risk.

This was emphasised recently as Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, addressed the official opening of the New Horizons School on the premises of the now defunct Erdiston Primary School at Pine Hill, St. Michael.

Acknowledging that his Ministry was ???trying to do one thing at a time??? but the other school was still on stream, Mr. Jones said: ???We continue to examine that within the context, one of resources, and within finding the best model, because we don???t want what exists now, which is the Government Industrial Schools.???

Noting that these functioned when students go before the justice system or are caught wandering on the streets, he said what Government was considering was a residential educational institution to be that place of intervention before children are referred to the Government Industrial Schools.

Adding that what he envisaged would not be like the Edna Nicholls Centre or the traditional children???s home, the Minister noted that the facility would provide that ???caring domicile??? through which the corruption of the previous environment could be shut out for a given period.

???I foresee what I call an exit point, in which that child, that student, that young person is already engaged in meaningful activity, Either further studying, either work, or a combination of those activities, where they can feel comfortable now, venturing out on their own to establish that adult life,??? the Education Minister explained.

He noted that his Ministry was still in the conceptual phase of the residential educational facility.??Mr. Jones further explained that the children???s situation may not merit them being sent to reside in one of the state home facilities.

???These children would have gone through years with some kind of home environment, but that environment itself has not lent itself to the moulding of a particular character???The other institution recognises already that fracture, that previous environment is doing damage to the personality, the mind, to the heart of that individual.

???If that is happening, you can wait for the journey which is going to eventually end with the juvenile justice system and government reform schools, or you can intervene. It is the intervention that we are more interested in,??? he maintained.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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