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The way forward in the Cayman Islands for at risk children is to ACT

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 1.20.39 PMThe Way Forward…………………………………………………….

With a successful year behind us Youth ACT is gearing up for 2015 school year.

We began our first year in 2013 by launching the Youth Crime prevention Day (YCPD) program to approximately 500 Year 8 students at John Gray, Clifton Hunter and Layman Scott High Schools in May and June, 2013.

We presented the YCPD program to approximately 500 Year 8 students at CHHS and JGHS in May 2013 and again on February 2014, approximately 80 Years 7-10 students at LSHS, Cayman Brac in May 2014, 250 students at JGHS in November 2014 and 200 students at CHHS on March 6, 2015.

Our goal is to present this program to all Year 8 and Year 10 students throughout the public schools in the 2015 school year (September  – June).

Your help is needed to make the work of Youth ACT a reality which will in turn reduce youth crime and the negative effects of criminal behavior on our society. Your support will impact the lives of our young people.

When you look at the budget below we ask that in addition to the numbers; that you see lives changed and lives saved, and an improvement in the well-being and quality of life for all residents.

In appreciation of your sponsorship, Youth ACT will ensure that you receive due recognition for your support. We look forward to your sponsorship and participation in this much needed program.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Chairperson who is more than happy to coordinate a meeting with the Board Members below.

Youth ACT Board Members:

Ms. Bonnie Anglin, Chairperson, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority
Dr. Elma Augustine, Clinical Psychologist
Ms. Paula Jackson, Cayman Bullying Project
Mr. Michael Myles, At-Risk Youth Coordinator, Ministry of Education
Ms. Julianne Parolisi, Music Therapist, Cayman Music Therapy
Mrs. Helen Reynolds-Arana, Rehabilitation & Re-Entry Team, H.M. Prison Services

Youth Anti-Crime Trust – Youth ACT
Youth ACT is a non-profit association created to develop and implement effective prevention programs to address anti-social behavior and reduce and prevent youth crime. The key objective of Youth ACT is to empower children with the required knowledge to prepare them to deal with the social, emotional and at-risk behavioral demands placed on them by their peers and society. Youth Act will also advocate for a change in public policy in the penalties and punishment administered to our youth as we support the concept of restorative justice.
Mission, Vision and Outcomes
Mission: To promote pro-social behavior and positive decision making amongst our children and young people to help them grow into responsible and productive citizens.

Vision: To reduce youth crime and the negative effects of criminal behavior on our society.

Outcomes: A reduction in suspensions in the school system, a decrease in youth criminal offences, building healthy families and communities, and contributing to a safer and more productive society for all.

Strategies and Recommendations to Prevent Youth Crime
Youth ACT reviewed all the reports from 1999 to 2011 addressing crime in the Cayman Islands and noted the recommendations of the Crime Reduction Working Group of the National Security Council (2011) and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). From these reports, Youth ACT identified three programs to implement that address youth crime through education and behavior modification, namely:

1. Youth Crime Prevention Day, geared to Years 8 and 10 students, ages 11/12 and 14/15, provides an awareness of the causes, consequences and penalties of crime and through an educational program provides the knowledge needed to make good decisions.

2. SNAP (Stop Now and Plan) Outreach Program, an award-winning, evidenced based best-practice program developed by the Canadian Development Institute (CDI) that helps children and parents regulate angry feelings by getting them to stop, think, and plan positive alternatives. SNAP is a community-based program that targets children with conduct and related behavioral problems and helps their parents to develop effective parenting skills.

3. Children in Prison (CIP) and Children With Incarcerated Parents (CWIP)
This program address the contributing factors to crime to reduce re-offending behaviour by our youth and address the generational issue of children with incarcerated parents following the path of parents and family members.


Outcomes: A reduction in suspensions in the school system and a decrease in youth criminal offences contributing to a safer and productive society for all.

Over 1,500 Year 8 students from the three high schools, have now learnt about the importance of taking personal responsibility for their decisions and the consequences of poor choices.

Through role play, students also experienced the loss of freedom that comes with convictions for breaking the law. They were on “lock down” throughout the day, escorted to and from workshops by Prison and Police Officers, with the restrictions that would be applied to prisoners.

The YCPD program was developed by involving various stakeholders in the delivery of the crime prevention messages through an educational-based model. The program is far from a conventional education program and was delivered through a multi-agency collaborative approach agreed by Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The students heard from experts who presented on a number of topics, shown attached.
SNAP (Stop Now and Plan) Outreach Program for Boys & Parents
Outcomes: Building healthy families and communities and contributing to a safer and more productive society for all.

SNAP (Stop Now and Plan), is evidence based cognitive-behavioral strategy that helps children regulate angry feelings by getting them to stop, think, and plan positive alternatives. The Canadian Development Institute (CDI) offers a number of SNAP Programs which provide intervention programs for boys, girls and parents. SNAP has been shown to help children make better choices and control impulsive and aggressive behavior that could lead to poor educational performance and criminal activity.

Youth ACT has identified the SNAP Outreach Program (SNAP ORP) as a complement program to the Youth Crime Prevention Day as it targets children in the primary schools. SNAP ORP is a multi-component and multi-systemic intervention program that teaches social skills, problem-solving techniques, self-control strategies, and cognitive self-instruction to children and families. SNAP ORP offers two programs: SNAP Boys and SNAP Girls which target high-level at-risk children and are delivered in a community-based setting to children and parents, developing a therapeutic “wrap around” approach to anti-social behavior.

The two core components are:

(1) 12-week (3 month) SNAP Children’s Group which is a structured after-school group that focuses on cognitive-behavioral self-control and problem-solving techniques, and a
(2) 12-week (3 month) concurrent SNAP Parent Group that focuses on teaching parents effective child management and parenting skills.

Youth ACT would like to implement the SNAP Boys in the 2014/2015 school year and SNAP Girls in the 2015/2016 school year.

Training and Affiliation
As SNAP is a best-practice program, Youth ACT must meet the criteria established by the CDI in order for the association and the Cayman Islands to be approved as an Affiliate Site to deliver SNAP programs. Affiliation with the CDI requires mandatory pre and post-consultation, training, specific staff requirements/qualifications, specified number of staff, manuals, modules, research and evaluation of outcomes.

Program Delivery
The program is designed for a maximum of 21 children and parents over 3 month periods, broken down in (3) groups of 7 children and parents, serving 21 families every 3 months or 63 children and families a year. Once affiliated, this program can be delivered to as many families as needed over the years and new staff can be trained to ensure the continuity of the program. Youth ACT would like to coordinate the delivery of this program over the next academic year and in the years that follow, by a multi-agency collaborative approach.

A proposal for implementing SNAP Boys and the required budget for start-up and annual operating cost from the Canadian Development Institute is attached. The budget to implement SNAP Boys is shown attached.

Children in Prison and Children with Incarcerated Parents (CIP)
During Incarceration
• Opportunities for in-depth parenting classes along with family intervention programs for inmates (there are special curricula for fathers to become more involved with their children while incarcerated).
• Group treatment/support groups for children of incarcerated parents (gives them a place to get peer feedback and realize they are not alone).
• Mentorship by community leaders specifically for children with incarcerated parent (to give them positive role model and encouragement to not follow the same path as parent). Mentors need specific training to understand the issues of these children before beginning mentorship.
• Make visitation areas more child and family friendly to improve quality of visitation (decorate nicely to make children and parents feel like they are having time at home with their children – should not be an institutional looking room or area).
• Education and resources made available to caregivers about positive parent-child contact and preparing the children for a visit with incarcerated parent (many family members feel it better for the child not to visit parents, but studies have shown just the opposite….they need that parental contact).
• Inmates should have supervised visitation time with children only to avoid spouse/family dominating the visitation time. Also avoids “baby momma” drama that children should not be in the middle of during that time. Separate visitation times for other family and friends.
• Education for correctional officers on children of incarcerated parents and positive effects of high quality visitation. Some prisons will lessen the visitation policy when it is children only visitation.
• Eliminate barriers (cost or rules) for children specific telephone calls by inmates.
• Monitored video-conferences to supplement in-person visitation and phone calls (Skype is a possible set up for this purpose to use locally).
• Specific pre-release, family counseling program for inmates close to release date.
• Vocational & job training for inmates prior to release to ensure financial stability for children once they are out of prison (as well as to reduce recidivism).

See also iNews Cayman Editorial “You don’t put the cart before the horse” at:


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