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Cayman Islands Government

Civil Servants Graduate From Sign Language Course

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) - in the Ministry of Community Affairs (CA) – had 14 government workers graduate from its new Level 1 American Sign Language course on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.

The six-month course was attended by civil servants likely to liaise with the hearing impaired including DCFS social workers, court staff, other CA Ministry employees and members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Force. A Cayman Brac parent with a hearing-impaired child also graduated.

Taught by Norma Ferryman, the foundation course included the alphabet and fingerspelling, family signs; feelings; professions; verbs and key nouns. By the end of the course students were proficient enough to clearly demonstrate a short story in ASL.

The graduation ceremony held at George Town Town Hall had a packed programme besides the presentation of certificates by Chief Officer, Dorine Whittaker. As well as a formal introduction by the DCFS Director, Felicia Robinson, there was an acapella rendition of the National Song by Annakay and Althea Miller, a Gospel song signing performance by Bouvia Ferguson, a medley of songs from the ASL graduates and a vote of thanks from the DCFS Director.

“This initiative is another aspect of the improvements being made in our child welfare system to reduce barriers and make our services more accessible to all families and, to build awareness around safeguarding children with disabilities,” Mrs. Robinson.

“We recognise that deaf children have special communication, language and cultural needs and are equally entitled to protection. Having these specialist skills will enable us to communicate directly with these children and their families and to provide support to them during the child protection and police joint investigation, the family service plan intervention and court proceedings.”

(GIS)

For further information contact: Elphina Jones