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Jamaica Observer Photo: Grace-Ann Stewart McFarlane (third right), senior director in the Children’s Affairs Division of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, cuts the ribbon to signal the official opening of the Granville Counselling Centre, located at the Granville Child Care facility in Trelawny, last Thursday.

The Granville Place of Safety in Granville, Carrick Foyle, Trelawny, is a girls home that houses troubled teens from across the island.

GRANVILLE Child Care Facility in Trelawny now has a fully equipped state-of-the-art Counselling Centre, which was established at a cost of approximately $12 million.

The centre, which was officially opened on June 24, boasts a furnished conference room, lounge, play therapy department, bathrooms, storage and kitchen facilities. It is expected that the upgrading will greatly enhance the living conditions and holistic development of the more than 60 female wards of that institution.

Addressing the ceremony, senior director of the Children’s Affairs Division of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Grace-Ann Stewart McFarlane, said that Government — through the ministry — is taking a deliberate and strategic approach to ensuring that all children, including those who are in children’s homes and places of safety, are given equal opportunities and resources that will foster their holistic development.

“The Government of Jamaica currently spends close to $2 billion in this area and we have taken several steps to improve residential care for these young people, including the implementation of the first phase of the electronic case management system, which makes it possible to track a child from entry into the system until he or she exits our facilities,” Stewart-McFarlane said.

She cited a recent review conducted by the CDA, which revealed that many children and adolescents, especially those who were in residential care facilities, have experienced varying degrees of trauma in their lives, including sexual abuse, neglect and exposure to domestic and other forms of violence, which have resulted in a number of psychosocial behaviours and tendencies.

The senior director informed that the ministry has further implemented co-curricular and extra-curricular programmes as well as training in social graces, in addition to strengthening the Family and Support Unit of the Child Development Agency (CDA).

Source: The Jamaica Observer

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