Safeguarding Children Conference set for May 5

Safeguarding Children Conference set for May 5

Thursday, April 07, 2016

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EDUCATION Minister Ruel Reid and multi-award winning youth advocate Nathaniel Peat, founder of The Safety Box, are among the speakers confirmed for the second staging of the International Safeguarding Children Conference, scheduled for May 5 and 6 in Kingston.

The education minister will give the main address at the conference on May 5, at Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies, Mona. The minister and Peat join British High Commissioner David Fitton and local and overseas-based specialists in child welfare and youth services who have been confirmed for the conference, which is being held under the theme Safeguarding, Education, Training and Development.

Dubbed "The Quality of Life Conference with a Difference", the conference is organised by the UK-based social work company One Step Forward Consultancy in collaboration with the Victoria Climbie Foundation (UK) and the British High Commission.

Peat’s non-profit organisation, The Safety Box, uses grass-roots methods to protect young people, interrupt violent behaviour, build entrepreneurship, promote safety and foster achievement in young people using alternative curriculum within schools and communities. The organisation has already impacted more than 8,000 young people in the UK where international work has been done.

According to Director of One Step Forward Consultancy Patricia McKenzie-Thomas, the participation of the Education Minister and Nathaniel Peat was most welcome. "We are pleased to have Minister Reid and Peat join the list of presenters for the conference. We continue to lift the quality of the conference with each staging by listening to our stakeholders and implementing their recommendations to ensure that what we are presenting is meaningful and tangible for the audiences we target," she said.

Among the other local and international speakers for this year’s conference are Director of the Victoria Climbie Foundation Mor Dioum who was the keynote speaker at the inaugural conference in 2015; Dr Henk Parmentier from the World Organisation of Family Doctors, Khori Hyde, CEO of Youth Organization Undertaking National Growth (Y.O.U.N.G), and Tameka Hill, UN Youth Envoy at the Caribbean Youth Policy Institute; US-based psychotherapist Celeste Wansley, UK-based Foster Care Expert and Life Coach Marcia Gordon and Regional Representative for the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment Dr James E Gibbs.

Boxer Sakima Mullings who has been working with at-risk youth through his Oracabessa Boxing Club will lead several boxing clinics for the conference. New initiatives have been introduced for this year’s conference such as social work training and placements of overseas-based social workers, trainees, interns, students and other young people involved in children’s services, during Child Month, which is observed in May.

McKenzie-Thomas noted that the introduction of these new initiatives was based on feedback from the 2015 conference.

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