Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, meeting and greeting staff of the Probation Department during a tour today. To the left is Deputy, Chief Probation Officer (ag), Angela Dixon. (A.Reid/BGIS)

Officers at the Probation Department have a ‘vested’ interest in assisting Barbadian youth with obtaining “second chances” and the tools to “deal and cope with the pressures of day-to-day life”.

They shared this today with Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, as they spoke about the mission and core function of the department, during a tour of the office, located at #33 Roebuck Street, St. Michael.

Acting Chief Probation Officer, Denise Agard, along with her Deputy, three Senior Probation Officers, 11 Probation Officers, two Community Service Officers and auxiliary staff, spoke about their daily functions, and what they think is needed to help make the department more effective.

Apart from providing pre-sentencing reports for court cases, staff also create rehabilitative programmes; supervise persons who have been sentenced to community service; and counsel, mentor and assist clients of the department with social issues, among other things.

“We need to keep our young people on a positive path and make a positive difference to our clients, no matter what stage they reach us at,” Minister Abrahams stated, as he stressed that government departments which offer services to the youth need to communicate more effectively with each other, and not operate in silos, so that the needs of the youth could be better addressed holistically.

He challenged the staff “to come up with a new mission statement that is relevant and captures what the department is all about in 2020”.

The Minister said he was heartened by the engagement and interaction from the staff, and looks forward to working with them in order to develop structures and programmes that would help the island’s youth be the best that they can be.

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