September 18, 2020

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) opens in Cayman islands to coordinate child protection


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Today, Monday 20 March, the Unit was officially opened during a press conference in its George Town offices in .  The Governor, Premier, of Police and Director of Department of Children and Family Services participated in the opening and spoke about the anticipated improvement in the level of child protection in the now that a facility for better coordination across government agencies is in place.

“International best practice demonstrates that MASH Units significantly improve the sharing of information among agencies,” said Her Excellency the Governor, Helen Kilpatrick, “and helps protect vulnerable children from harm, neglect and abuse.  The establishment of the MASH is a big step forward toward comprehensive child safeguarding across the islands.”

“As a society I know that we are all concerned and appalled at any kind of child abuse. As a Government we committed to tackle this and have worked together to form this multi-agency group to address the safety and protection of children in the Cayman Islands,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin.  “We fully support the critical work police and DCFS officers, and HSA psychologists, have already started in this office and can only thank them on behalf of the future generations they are working to protect.”

In late February, teams of detectives, social workers and a HSA psychologist started working out of the offices at Anderson Square, which house the MASH.  Eight social workers and eight police officers currently make up the MASH Unit, with plans to add three more officers who are currently undergoing training.  The Unit now serves as the first referral point for safeguarding concerns encountered by police officers, social workers, educators and health workers during the course of their work.  When one of these mandated reporters, other professional, or member of the public refers information to the MASH, it is shared within the MASH team and investigated. A cross-agency plan is then developed for tracking the situation or intervening with family support and treatment, should circumstances merit.

“This multi-disciplinary approach to child safeguarding  is a welcome approach and a top priority for the RCIPS, along with other stakeholder agencies, so we can leverage our resources to protect our nation’s children, and bring to justice predators that would rob a child of her or his innocence,” said Acting Commissioner of Police Anthony Ennis.

“The MASH is much more than the sum of its parts,” continued Felicia Robinson, Director of Department of Children and Family Services, “working in the same office space enables a type of cooperation that increases both the speed and quality of our casework, improving our services and our ability to intervene when necessary in a more timely and effective way.”

The MASH office at Anderson Square is not a “walk-in” facility.  Those who wish to report a concern regarding a child should contact DCFS at 949-0290 or George Town Police Stationat 949-4222, or email [email protected].

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