Social Services Assessment
Continuing his round of fact-finding meetings, Minister of Community Affairs and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP, recently met a team from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to get an overview of the Islands' social welfare programmes.
Mr. Adam said his agency meetings were aimed at garnering information, and would form the basis of short-, medium- and long-term strategies to ensure efficient operation and a shared vision for the ministry and its departments.
"My first priority is to see how social services are currently being delivered in the Cayman Islands; what government and community structures are in place to support delivery; and how we can improve to better serve the most vulnerable in our community," Mr. Adam said.
Noting that his vision of streamlining social-services delivery includes closer integration between social welfare and job training, Mr. Adam said he would seek to channel resources for education and training to those who have drifted to the margins of the workforce.
He added that he would look carefully at funding for social welfare programmes, observing that social services provision is most successful when there is strong government, private sector, and community collaboration.
"Cayman has a strong Christian heritage and tradition of philanthropy. We need to streamline charitable giving, so it can help to reduce some of the burden for social welfare, too much of which still rests on government's shoulders," he said.
For his meeting with DCFS officials, Mr. Adam was joined by the ministry's Acting Chief Officer Leonard Dilbert.
DCFS provides care and protection for children, as well as general public welfare. Department Director Deanna Lookloy said that during the year 2008, staff dealt with 3,024 cases, serving a total of 6,647 persons. This included 1,374 new requests for matters such as child protection; financial and medical aid; adoption; adult abuse; elderly care; counselling; Juvenile Court work; and school support programmes.
Mrs Lookloy also noted that there are nearly 900 persons on permanent poor relief, most of whom are elderly or handicapped. Another 12 persons qualify to receive this benefit, but they cannot receive it because of funding constraints. Also, almost 90 persons are in the process of being assessed.
Department staffers are directing some of the donations from the community to assist the 12 approved cases as far as possible, she said.
Other DSCF representatives attending the meeting include Social Work Manager, Leonora Wynter-Young and Finance and Administration Officer Netha Ebanks.
For further information contact: Prudence Barnes