July 4, 2022

The Editor Speaks: Baffling and shocking

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When will governments wake up and pour the funds required to deal with crime at the source and not after the horse has bolted?

It is constantly baffling to me why there is always reluctance to commit monies and other resources into the nests where crime starts – the homes.

The Cayman Islands Children & Youth Services (CAYS) Foundation is a “not-for-profit organisation dedicated to empowering youth and their families, who are experiencing difficulties achieving their full human potential…”

In December 2002, the CAYS Foundation was established as a private Government Owned Company mandated to manage and operate two Residential Homes -The Frances Bodden Girls Home and the Bonaventure Boys Home – providing 24 hour residential care for at-risk adolescents

Youth are placed in the Homes through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) via Court Orders

The underlying aim of CAYS Foundation’s service methodology is to provide treatment for broken lives by maintaining a: 24 hour, outcomes driven therapeutic approach.

Manager of CAYS Foundation, Sydney Williams, speaking to CNS recently, said the problems he and his staff are having isn’t only money, although that would help with additional staffing needs. The number one problem is the lack of mental health provision for young people.

The CNS article quotes Williams as saying “we should not underestimate the level of trauma some of the children in the care system have faced and there is no easy solution for them”, and, “There is no quick fix for traumatised young people.”

Some of the major challenges is “the kids all return to the homes or environments where the trouble and the trauma started”.

“Family interactions can also be a problem, as many parents are not just abusing their children but their parenting can be extremely inappropriate, such as fathers sharing pornographic material on their phones with their teenage sons when visiting the home and the sexual activity that parents and their other partners display in front of their children when they go for home visits.”

I urge every one of our readers to visit the CNS website and read the article, “CAYS sounds alarm over troubled teens care” at: https://caymannewsservice.com/2018/08/cays-sounds-alarm-over-troubled-teens-care/

I also hope every one of our MLAs also read it.

Williams cites a case of a 12 year old girl handed over to a 40 year old man by a PARENT!

CAYS needs support and a commitment to help deal with the cycle of abuse that is being ignored.

Crime starts with our children and they quickly learn from their peers of dubious means. These children need a voice. They deserve to be heard.

If you want to help, The Bonaventure Boys’ Home needs an above-ground pool,” which on a hot summer’s day would be a great resource for young teenage boys to let off steam.”

Locking people up time and time again is not a solution. It never has been. It is baffling and shocking that the very people we elect don’t see it. The more we ignore the problem where it starts from, the more it costs all of us.

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