A prospective foster parent must be prepared to go through training Story Highlights Jamaica’s foster parents are opening their homes and hearts to hundreds of children, who are in need of care and protection.They are providing a safe haven for children, who sometimes face extremely difficult circumstances within their own families. These include children, who have been abused, orphaned, abandoned, neglected or who cannot be cared for by their parents or relatives and who might have been placed in a children’s home.Team leader at the Child Development Agency (CDA), Robert Williams, tells JIS News that the CDA, which is responsible for providing support to children in need of care and protection, has been supervising fostering relationships between parents and approximately 950 children in foster homes across the island.Foster care is a legal process that allows a person, who is not the biological parent, to raise and provide a nurturing environment for a child’s physical, spiritual and emotional growth and development.Mr. Williams says that getting children into a nurturing home is one of the top priorities of the CDA. “We want to get the children out of the facilities into a home environment. The home is the preferred place for a child. We seek to put emphasis on that,” he says.He notes that some Jamaicans are willing to foster but “what we would like to see is definitely an increase; we want to see more persons becoming foster parents.”According to Mr. Williams, being a foster parent demands a high level of commitment and the ability to demonstrate love and willingness to care for a child with the same love, care and respect with which a person would treat a biological child.“We are looking for people, who fit the profile of somebody, who can offer care and guidance and love to a child,” he adds.A prospective foster parent must be prepared to go through a period of training in child rearing and satisfy the expectations of the CDA before their applications could be approved.The training sessions, Mr. Williams informs, expose foster parents to policies and procedures of foster care as well as information on human growth and the various stages of a child’s development.For those fostering adolescents, topics such as human sexuality are also addressed. “We want them to understand the characteristics of teenagers and how to deal and cope with that,” Mr. Williams informs.Additionally, he says that children’s officers in various parishes are required to conduct regular home visits to see to the children’s well being. Students from universities engaged in work study practice in child care and development also participate in the home visits.Mr. Williams tells JIS News that children’s officers are also expected to arrange fun time for foster children.“From time to time, the children’s officers (doing the case management) try to get the children together. They go on excursions and at some stage in the process, we seek sponsorship from corporate Jamaica and take them to different places,” he says.Mr. Williams says the CDA directorate meets with foster parents associations from time to time to hear their grievances and concerns.One such group is the Kingston and St. Andrew Foster Parent Association. Its President is Shari Tomlinson, who initiated the rebirth of the association in 2012, which had become dormant after some five years of existence.“We currently have an executive board. We have our mission and vision statement. We are developing our policies as it relates to it being an organisation that will now provide not only social support but also tangible support for our parents,” she tells JIS News.She notes that “a lot of our parents are in need of real support as it relates to financial factors. Whether it is clothes or goods, whether it is cash, whether it is in kind; the association is looking to offer something more to the parents.”Mrs. Tomlinson says the association has written to CDA and the Ministry of Youth and Culture, outlining how it could assist the CDA in dealing with some of the issues being faced by foster parents.“We have had dialogue with the CDA’s management team and they have looked at some of the things that really are an issue for us as foster parents, and we have also looked at how we can assist the CDA in putting in place some of the things that we deem very necessary,” she tells JIS News.Outlining ways the association can help, she mentioned on-going training for foster parents, in addition to the introductory training by the CDA, to deal with some of the issues that arise during foster care.She notes that for some children, it is traumatic moving to a strange surrounding and to people they do not know.“A lot of times, children cannot be integrated very easily into a family because they do have issues, and the issues that they bring to the table are things that we as foster parents must deal with, or the placement will breakdown and then the child goes back into care,” she points out.The President says the association is looking to organise a parenting seminar in August. “We really want to do this because we believe that not only foster parents, but parents in general, are having serious challenges with our children for many reasons and we want to see how best we can address some of these issues, particularly for parents of those children who have emotional and psychological challenges,” she informs.Mrs. Tomlinson tells JIS News that despite the challenges, the foster parents are committed to the care and development of the children in their charge, and they feel a sense of satisfaction when foster children turn out to be successful citizens.“Any child that you have taken from the system and have made a difference in their lives, once the child becomes self-sufficient it is a success story,” she says.“Like any parent you are very proud, you applaud the child, you feel that here is somebody who, despite the odds, has been resilient enough to make the best use of all that they have been given,” she states. Approximately 950 children in foster homes across the island Getting children into a nurturing home is one of the top priorities of the CDA
CNET Smart Home CNET Smart Home 24 Electrolux iRobot Neato Robots Inside our test room are objects and challenges designed to mimic what a robot will encounter as it cleans a room. That includes constructs designed to mimic large furniture like sofas or dressers, smaller objects like lamps or table and chair legs, and even surface irregularities like carpets, transitions between flooring and electrical cords. A camera mounted above captures a bird’s-eye view of all the action. From there we can figure out the path each vacuum takes during its cleaning cycle. This system also allows us to calculate how much of the floor a machine actually covers, and the time it takes to do it. 15 Photos Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) reading • Your Roomba takes a weird path to clean the floors in your home. Here’s why it matters See All Preview • Electrolux’s robot vac scans objects to map its path See it Aug 30 • iRobot Roomba S9 Plus vs. Neato Botvac D7 Connected Pure i9 Vacuum Cleaners Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected Electrolux Pure i9 The way a robot vacuum travels around the room as it cleans really matters. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET Any robot vacuum cleaner will remove at least some dirt from your floors. How much ground it covers, though, and its behavior moving through rooms will vary a great deal from model to model. The most important factor behind this is a robot’s navigation system. Its navigation technology, together with software, determines a vacuum’s actions. That plays a massive role in how well a given robot cleans a space, or even hunt for garden weeds. As you might expect, some robot vacuums perform the task better than others. Read more: How to prep your house so your robot vacuum won’t get stuck.Fortunately, our brand-new robot vacuum testing room at our warehouse lab in Louisville, Kentucky, can help us show the differences between robot vacuums, including how well they perceive, interact and otherwise move around in a physical space. To break in our new test room, we ran nine current robot vacuum models across its floor. Tyler Lizenby/CNET Robot navigation on a budget There are three main types of systems robot vacuum cleaners typically use to navigate a space. The first is a simple collection of collision, wheel, brush and cliff sensors. They tell robots when they hit or are about to hit objects. With that information, they can slow down or change course altogether. Additionally these sensors help vacuums avoid falls down flights of stairs. You tend to find these systems in budget robot vacuums. The upside is they cost a lot less than more complex machines. The $349 SharkNinja Ion S87 and $199 Eufy Robovac 11S are examples of products with this style of navigation. Basic robot vacuums equipped with collision and proximity sensors, like the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max here, bounce around obstacles to find their way, but miss a lot of open floor space. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET The downside is that they operate in a random fashion, bumping into things and veering willy-nilly around the room. The very first iRobot Roombas did the same. Sadly that results in incomplete floor coverage. Spots in tight places (corners, table and chair legs) get lots of repeat attention. Open areas, however, are likely vacuumed once (or perhaps not at all) since the robot travels in a straight line until it detects something in its path. This image is designed to show the actual area the robot covered for cleaning. As you can tell, the Ecovacs Deebot 500 was very inconsistent. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET These machines take a long time to run too, roughly three times as long as the most advanced robot vacuums need to attack the same area. Sure, long clean times won’t matter much if you tend to vacuum when nobody’s home, and have all day to do it. When company is due to arrive in 45 minutes, or other time-limited situations, that’s a problem. Visual or optical navigation Other robot vacuums combine the basic array of collision sensors with a main visual sensor that’s augmented by a lens. These vacuums use a navigation algorithm called VSLAM (or visual simultaneous location and mapping). The optical system can identify landmarks on the ceiling, as well as judge the distance between walls. The iRobot Roomba i7+ shows a more logical, thorough navigation path thanks to its optical technology. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET VSLAM also calculates the vacuum’s relative position in a room in real time, letting the bot create a map as it cleans. Robot vacuums that operate this way navigate a room with greater efficiency, systematically cleaning the floor in a logical pattern. They won’t waste time vacuuming areas of a room the robot knows it has already travelled over. As a result, they can cover the same area in a shorter time, and with better coverage than a robot based only on physical sensors. iRobot’s current line of Roombas, such as the $1,099 i7+ and $1,299 S9+, have this kind of navigation system. The same is true of higher-end Ecovac models like the $499 Deebot 711. That optical navigation translates to much more thorough coverage across our test room floor. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET Visually driven robot vacuums have a few drawbacks. Since their optical sensors need at least some amount of ambient light present, they have trouble finding their way in completely dark rooms. Compared with basic models, you’ll pay extra for these more intelligent robots too. Laser navigation Another way robot vacuums can sense their environment is with lidar (light detection and ranging). It’s the same sort of technology you’ll find in many self-driving car prototypes such as those from Waymo and Uber. All Neato Botvacs use this method, including the $829 Botvac D7 Connected, the company’s current flagship model. Here’s a view of the Neato Botvac D6 Connected using its laser LIDAR SLAM system in our test room. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET Top-tier Ecovac Deebots like the $549 Ozmo 930 have built-in lidar too. In this sophisticated system, a turret-based laser mounted on the top of the robot vacuum illuminates objects to help the robot figure out their location and distance. Vacuums equipped with lidar can also detect the size and shape of things in their path. Guided by lidar, the navigation pattern of Neato’s Botvac D6 was very systematic, optimizing its pathing to get the job done completely, and in a short amount of time. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET They actively scan their surroundings too. That’s why these machines tend to cover floors with extreme efficiency For instance, both the Neato Botvac D7 and Botvac D6 cleaned our test room floor in just under 21 minutes. The $349 SharkNinja Ion S87, with its basic navigation, spent 1 hour and 9 minutes cleaning the floor of our test room. Likewise, two budget Ecovacs machines, the $279 Deebot 500 and $249 Deebot 600, both had cleaning times of over 1 hour (60 and 64 minutes respectively). The longest though was the $199 Eufy RoboVac 11S Max (100 minutes, 34 seconds), also the cheapest model in this group. Even with a pathing plan that looks sparse, the Neato Botvac D6 managed to cover essentially the entire test room floor. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET Shorter runtime isn’t the only benefit to lidar. Paired with the SLAM (or simultaneous location and mapping) algorithm, these robots also create detailed maps on the fly. You can perform useful interactions with those maps too. For instance, you can drop virtual boundaries within them, or make restricted zones at will for the robot to avoid. These vacuums also navigate in the dark if necessary. All that is great. Just remember you’ll pay a premium for these machines. They typically occupy the ultra-high-end rung of the market. Hybrid systems A new approach a few robot vacuums take is to combine multiple navigate technology into one system. That includes brush, cliff, wheel and optical sensors, as well as laser emitters. There aren’t that many products that do this at the moment. One you can buy today is the $499 Electrolux Pure i9. This unique robot vacuum is equipped with a pair of front-firing lasers. Sitting in the middle of them, on the vacuum’s front face, is also a big optical sensor behind a lens. The Electrolux Pure i9, using a hybrid navigation and sensor system, definitely missed areas of our test room floor. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET Even with all that tech, the Pure i9’s movement through our test room appeared confused. It didn’t roll along confidently like the Neato and Roomba machines. Instead it muddled through it in fits and starts, constantly pivoting in different directions. The Electrolux Pure i9 uses a hybrid optical and laser navigation system. Even so, it often looked confused rolling across our test room floor. Brian Bennett/CNET With so many tools, as well as enhanced software and processing power, robots with hybrid navigation have the potential to offer unheard of levels of automation and intelligence. I think the upcoming Ecovacs Deebot 960 looks especially promising. Ecovacs says the vacuum will be able to actually identify objects like shoes, clothing and piles of toys. Robot vacuums with hybrid sensor systems have promise. The Electrolux Pure i9 is one, but it didn’t cover our test room floor as well as other machines. Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET And the company says the robot’s AI-based recognition will learn new objects over time. Perhaps that list will include pet messes and other wet, goopy or sticky debris. That would be a welcome update, potentially saving your flooring and your carpet from becoming even messier than before the robot vacuum started cleaning. A note on our new robot vacuum testing room We’ve conducted straight-line, cleaning performance-based tests for robot vacuums in the past, but that really only tells part of the picture about how well a robot vacuum will clean your home. How well it can navigate a space, how much area it actually covers and how long it takes are all important factors, too. To help us capture that information, we built an industry-standard testing room, as specified by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the international standards body that, among other things, governs robot vacuum testing methods for manufacturers. Look for more robot vacuum testing from us in the near future. For now, we can at least say conclusively that not all robot vacuums are the same, and the way a bot navigates around a room will impact not only its cleaning performance, but also how long it takes to get the job done. $499 Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house Share your voice See It 3:43 Mentioned Above Electrolux Pure i9 Lasers, sensors and robots, oh my: Some robot vacuums… CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $614 Some robot vacuums have a better sense of direction than others Tags Now playing: Watch this: Comments •
Ford’s newly launched EcoSport SUV has reportedly received more than 14,000 bookings in less than two weeks.The Financial Express, citing a source close to the development of EcoSport, said the American auto major has received more than 14,000 orders for EcoSport in India, and this number is likely to cross 17,000 by this Friday.”By last Friday, bookings for the EcoSport had touched 14,000. By now, this would have crossed 17,000. A new count will be taken by Friday,” a source told to the Financial Express.The report also stated that due to higher demand for the diesel version of EcoSport, some dealers across the country have also stopped taking orders. The greater demand for the vehicle in the sub-continent will push the company to extend the waiting period for customers.The vehicle which was launched in the country on 26 June is expected to be a game-changer for Ford in the auto market. By pricing it low, Ford is directly posed a challenge to current auto market leaders like Maruti and Hyundai along with Renault Duster, Mahindra Quanto and Premier Rio. The car comes with a starting price of ₹5.59 lakh.Under the hood, EcoSport comes with 1.5L petrol, 1.5L diesel and the 1.0L EcoBoost engine. The 1.5L petrol engine is expected to give 112 PS power and 140 Nm torque. It comes in both manual and automatic transmissions. The manual transmission model gives a mileage of 15.8 kmpl, while the automatic model is expects to deliver 15.6 kmpl. The revolutionary EcoBoost EcoSport engine churns out a power of 125 PS and 170 Nm torque along with a mileage of 18.9 kmpl. The diesel variant of EcoSport is the most fuel-efficient among all models and is expected to give a mileage of 22.7 kmpl.”We have had an overwhelming response and are now consolidating the order list. This is quite high and unprecedented for us at Ford,” said Vinay Piparsania, executive director for marketing, sales and service, Ford India.Meanwhile, Ford India is recalling its EcoSport diesel models in India due to the problems with the glow plug module. The recall of newly launched vehicle is likely to hurt the sentiments of prospective buyers in the country.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. File PhotoThe Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Saturday took a fresh vow to continue its movement for ‘ousting’ the ‘monstrous’ government to ‘restore’ democracy and people’s rights.“We’re taking a pledge on this day of our founding anniversary to continue our struggle to remove the monstrous government, and free our leader Khaleda Zia for the restoration of democracy,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.He hoped that their party’s efforts to end ‘misrule’ will turn out to be a successful one very soon, reports UNB.The BNP leader came up with the remarks while talking to newsmen after placing wreaths at the BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave along with party’s leaders and activists, marking its 40th founding anniversary.He alleged that the government has snatched people’s basic rights and destroyed all the democratic institutions. “It’s now the main challenge for the BNP to restore democracy and people’s rights.”Several hundred BNP leaders and activists together with Fakhrul, party standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury gathered at Zia’s grave at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital around 10:00am and paid homage to their party founder by placing wreaths.They also offered a munajat seeking eternal peace for Zia’s departed soul.Meanwhile, the party and its associate bodies are celebrating its 40th founding anniversary with various programmes.On 1 September 1978, late president Ziaur Rahman founded the party with a 19-point programme to build a self-reliant Bangladesh.The party holds a public rally in front of its Naya Paltan central office at 2:00pm.Party senior leaders said they have a plan for a ‘massive showdown’ in the rally to invigorate its rank and file ahead of the next general elections.Earlier in the morning, the party flag was hoisted atop the BNP’s Naya Paltan central office and all other offices across the country, marking the day.Besides, the party’s associate bodies and its all units across the country are marking the day holding various programmes, including discussion meetings.The party will also organise a discussion at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh on Sunday.The party is celebrating the founding anniversary this year without its chairperson Khaleda Zia as she has been in jail since 8 February after a lower court convicted her in a graft case.After the assassination of Zia on 30 May 1981 in Chattogram, his widow Khaleda Zia took over the party leadership.In its 39 years’ journey, BNP had been in power for four times and was in the opposition bench twice. But following the 5 January 2014 election boycott, the party is now out of parliament.The BNP has been out of power for over 11 years since the 1/11 political changeover.Senior leaders of the BNP think they are passing through the toughest time since the party’s foundation as it is out of power for a decade, but they hope it will turnaround very soon braving all the odds and obstacles.
Listen Al OrtizImmigration lawyer Silvia Mintz (right) gave a lecture to cadets from the Houston Police Department when they visited the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, which is located in a part of Houston where many residents are immigrants from Latin American countries, as part of HPD’s diversity tour initiative.The quality of the training of police officers in Texas has been in the spotlight recently and incidents such as the arrest of Sandra Bland in Waller County last year and the shooting of Alva Braziel in Houston this past summer have raised questions about how law enforcement deals with diversity and de-escalation tactics.One of the measures the Houston Police Department has taken recently is a tour of the city to teach cadets about its diversity.The tour makes stops in African-American, Asian, Latino and Muslim neighborhoods.“We recruit nationwide and, so, many cadets don’t really understand the history of Houston and, so, we’ll take them out to Acres Homes, we’ll take them out to Meyerland, we’ll take them out to the Fifth Ward and community members will engage them and speak with them and then they’ll take the bus tour and kind of get a cultural history of Houston,” explains Assistant Chief Charlie Vazquez, who oversees the Professional Development Command at HPD.Vazquez says learning about Houston’s diversity is useful for the cadets because they are introduced to members of the community who can help them establish trust in the groups they will be working with and that is a trust that eventually should lead to more effective policing.Cadet Egla Flores says the tour allows trainees to learn small details that will help them when they interact with the public.She gives an example of something she learned at the Islamic Society of Greater Houston when she took the tour.“If we try to shake the woman’s hand they probably wouldn’t shake our hand, they would place their hands over their chest. It’s just little things that we learn from different communities,” Flores notes.But Houston is not the only city where police officers learn about diversity.The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement requires that diversity and multiculturalism are part of the curriculum used for the basic training all police officers go through in the state.The courses are a reflection of the changing demographics in the United States because of the growth of minorities and they also teach why police officers must avoid racial profiling.There is also a class on basic Spanish due to the large Latino population of Texas.“My sense is that minimal requirements for understanding diverse peoples are probably being met adequately across the board,” comments Phillip Lyons, dean at the Criminal Justice College of Sam Houston State University.Lyons also thinks initiatives like HPD’s diversity course represent an added value for the training of its future officers.In addition to diversity, the concept of de-escalation has also become an increasingly important component of the training through the years.“I think the actions of the police have come under heightened scrutiny as it relates to how we deal with folks who have mental health problems or who are in crisis and, as a result of that, there is more attention given to training,” Lyons adds.Some of the tools police officers are instructed to use to de-escalate tense situations are prioritizing self-control and not behaving in an aggressive or condescending way, but paying attention to the nuances of non-verbal communication for certain communities can also be important.For example, officers are taught that some Latinos may prefer not to make eye contact not because they are lying, but because it is the way they show respect.Knowing how to work around personal space is relevant as well.Officer C.K. Traxler, who works for the Pasadena Police Department and teaches crisis intervention, explains that they teach cadets and police officers who go through training “to look for signs of stress in the person as you are approaching and if you see their stress level going up, you stop at that point or maybe even back up a little bit to reduce the stress that they’re already feeling.”Police officers frequently conduct traffic stops, which can present situations that turn confrontational and those are situations in which the training is useful.The protocol for police officers is that they must always say what is the reason for the stop and allow the driver to give an explanation for the traffic violation the officer deems he or she has committed, which can lower the stress of the situation. 00:00 /04:07 X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share