Multimillion-dollar child, family centre to open soon – Amna Ally

first_imgThe multimillion-dollar Child and Family Friendly Centre which will serve as a temporary shelter for the less fortunate is slated to open soon.Social Protection Minister Amna AllyThis is according to Social Protection Minister Amna Ally, who told reporters on Friday that the facility, which is the first of its kind in Guyana, was expected to be completed in another six weeks.“Actually, the outer building is completed, but there are some fineries that have to be done to make it habitable and safe. So, the opening is going to be probably by the end of September, early October,” Ally said.The facility’s purpose is to avoid separation of families and provide care for children as they transition from difficult circumstances.“There are eight family apartments, independent family apartments for families. There are also four apartments for children of different ages, boys and girls, and there is a training centre for counselling sessions. We do not want to just provide housing for persons that will be here at the facility but ensure they received every other necessity to help them transform,” Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) Director Ann Greene had said earlier this year.Other facilities constructed in the compound are a mess hall, administration building, storage department, coaching department and playground. Greene had highlighted that there would be strict regulations and standard operating procedures implemented to guide the acceptance of families who desire to use the facility.Three years ago, a fire gutted the previous Drop-In Centre on Hadfield Street, Georgetown. However, this newly-constructed facility will have heightened safety measures.The 2016 fire had destroyed the entire top flat of the centre’s Hadfield Street location and claimed the lives of Antonio and Joshua George, aged two and six. The preliminary report on the fire had found that the centre had systematic problems and bad policy arrangements in the event of a fire or similar emergency.A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report into the fire conducted by Retired Colonel Windee Algernon found that the children/staffer ratio was not adhered to and that on the morning of the fire, there were not enough staff on duty to meet the needs of the children. Additionally, the house service supervisor, while she had the authority to call out more staff, failed to do so.The CoI had also found that there were written guidelines for the management of crisis situations, including fires; however, the house manager and other senior staff seemed unfamiliar with them. And so when the fire occurred, there was confusion and panic, resulting in the tragedy.Of note too is that the Inquiry found that the fire was caused by a defective electrical outlet fitted with exposed wires on the eastern wall of the girls’ dormitory.last_img read more