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Saving Our Youth

Future model of the Cayman Islands Youth Centre

Two events in March will mark the strengthening of Cayman's youth rehabilitation efforts by the Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing and other key stakeholders.

The Ministry, in partnership with the CAYS Foundation, will be officially opening a new Therapeutic Community Programme at the Bonaventure Boys Home (BBH). There will also be a public groundbreaking ceremony for Cayman's first purpose-built youth rehabilitation facility, Cayman Islands Youth Centre, on Thursday 15 March at 4pm at 73 Fairbanks Road.

The Therapeutic Community Programme represents the adoption of new principles based on the Missouri Model which focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment, encouraging young people to dig deep and confront their issues, typically within a peer-group setting. Since this recent adoption, the programme has seen significant improvements in the boys.

Along with this enhancement to programming, the BBH has also undergone renovations to reflect the new philosophy. Now there is an open dorm layout for staff observation and safety, classrooms, and a group meeting room. Residents will have a daily schedule consisting of education, group counselling, individual counselling, meals, recreation, dorm cleaning, and check-ins.

Also based on the Missouri Model, the Cayman Islands Youth Centre, due to be finished by May 2013, will serve as a home and treatment centre for juvenile offenders and remanded youth.

"Missouri's approach is not at all a 'soft' approach to delinquent behaviour, but instead, much harder, more demanding and more likely to bring about meaningful change as you must face and deal with your most difficult and traumatic issues and take responsibility for your actions and behaviour"," said the Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP.

"With these enhancements in youth rehabilitation, we all have an opportunity to help chart the way forward by empowering our children and youth, strengthening our community and securing the future of these Islands", he added.

The Chairman of the Children and Youth Services (CAYS) Foundation, Mr. Garth Arch, said "It is encouraging to witness the significant progress being made with the shift in youth rehabilitation from the traditional punitive approach towards a strength-based model focusing on group interaction and positive personal development. The establishment of the new Therapeutic Community Programme is a meaningful advancement towards successfully rehabilitating at-risk youths to become positive and productive citizens."

The Therapeutic Community Programme General Manager, Sydney Williams, is happy with the home's new look and said, "With our remodelled home, we now have a full plan - one that includes more suitable accommodation, trained staff, new principles and higher standards for the boys to enjoy."

He added, "The new system has really put a positive spin on the way the boys interact, and I am confident that this new direction will help our youth become productive citizens of this country."

The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony and learn about the Missouri Model and Cayman's at-risk youth. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact the Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing at 244-2424 or BBH at 946-2446.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Yvette Cacho




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