Children in juvenile facilities are to benefit from psychiatric and specialist psychological counselling, as the Government moves to increase assistance to children in conflict with the law.
Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who made the disclosure at a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister on December 18, said emphasis will be placed on therapeutic treatment and care.
“Every child, who is in state care, has reached there on account of some form of family issue and they are therefore at risk of mental disorder. In conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) we are increasing routine assessment and screening with the implementation of a mobile clinic,” she informed.
Ms. Hanna further stated that she has established an Advisory Council of Psychiatrists to assist with the provision of this service on an ongoing basis.
She also said that consideration is being given to the conversion of one facility as a “medical model” on a pilot basis with the assignment of sufficient trained medical staff and the results monitored for replication in all juvenile facilities.
“I recently met with Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education, who have pledged their support in this effort,” the Minister told journalists.
She said that greater emphasis is being placed on the training and cross training of all staff at the Child Development Agency (CDA), courts, Department of Correctional Services and Ministry of Health, to improve coordination, collaboration and communication in providing services to all children in state care, including those who come in conflict with the law.