Homestead Place of Safety to become model facility for girls

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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STATE minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Alando Terrelonge, says he is pleased with the transformation of the Homestead Place of Safety in Stony Hill, St Andrew, which will become a model facility for girls in need of care and protection.

He was delivering the keynote address at the official opening ceremony on the grounds of the facility, last Friday.

The overall project, which was completed within a year at a cost of $23.5 million, included drainage installation; electrical wiring; welding; painting of interior and exterior walls; replacement of door and windows; repairs to dormitories; recreational area, manager's and staff quarters; and general work throughout the entire building.

The facility, which will house 44 girls, now comprises 11 bedrooms with multiple bed spaces; shower areas, lobby area, recreational area, classrooms, restrooms, clothing and storerooms.

The junior minister used the occasion to also laud the staff for their invaluable work with the girls, and encouraged them to continue to protect and promote their rights

“Our children are the future, and we have to do everything in our power to ensure that they receive the utmost care possible to aid in their development,” Terrelonge said.

He also implored the staff to be patient and kind to the girls, reinforce positive values, instil good attitudes and discipline with love. “We know some of the harsh realities that our children face, and in order to help them overcome trauma suffered, we have to be positive influences in their lives, and provide them with the necessary support,” he said.

He also urged the girls to grasp every opportunity that is afforded to them while in State care, and take pride in themselves and the facility which is intended to be of service to others for years to come.

Commenting on the project, CEO of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency Rosalee Gage-Grey said that she is overwhelmed to see the transformation of the building, which will definitely be a haven for girls.

“This facility will be a symbol of hope and inspiration, one that we will always be proud of — a place where our girls can live comfortably, while being equipped with the requisite skills as they prepare to make bold steps into the future,” Gage-Grey said.

Meanwhile, manager of the facility, Sellean Barracks, expressed appreciation for the renovated facility, adding that, it was much needed, and will provide the girls with a more comfortable and private living arrangement.

“This facility is considered a stepping stone for the girls, and will definitely help to prepare them for adulthood. Words cannot express how thankful we are, because it shows the government is committed to putting their commitment to action to improve the lives of children in State care,” she said.

One ward, speaking on behalf of her fellow residents, described the facility as breathtaking. “It doesn't seem like a child care facility any more. Everything is new and fresh. It feels like I am at a hotel. It gives me a wow feeling, and I am just happy for the change,” she said.

She thanked the Government and all the key players for a job well done. “We are grateful to the CPFSA and all the persons who helped to make our home look beautiful and feel more comfortable,” the youngster said.

The agency, through its programmes and initiatives, continues to provide quality services to vulnerable children and families.

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