JIS: There is strong support for the renovated Muirton Child Care Facility in Portland from community members and other stakeholders.

 

Located in Manchioneal, the Government-run facility caters to boys aged 11 to 18 years who have learning challenges.

 

Through the ‘Friends of Muirton’, initiated by the institution’s Manager, Chances Walker, to make it a “model facility for lifting up people with special needs”, the individuals are offering help in security, fundraising and mentoring.

 

Member of the group, Maxine Palmer, who is also a former Manager of the home, says she is “pleased” with the upgrading work, and they will be working to get additional furniture and funds, “so I will be lending my services in that area”

 

Head of the Portland police, Superintendent Duane Wellington, says “we are grateful for this partnership”, and the Community Safety and Security Branch in the parish will be providing critical support to the home.

 

Jeffrey Grant, who is a lecturer at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), in the parish, says he is giving time to the facility, because “I want to see the boys uplifted and enjoy the time they spend there”.

 

Mr. Grant is inviting other persons to do the same, as the boys should be given every opportunity to contribute to society.

 

Meanwhile, the Manager describes the outreach partnership with the Friends of Muirton as a “strong alliance” with a small group of influential professionals “with tangible links to the diaspora” who are willing to assist and provide needed services.

 

She says a Facebook page will be set up as a means through which interested persons can get information on the facility. “This will also help to build awareness about some of the great things that will be happening here at Muirton,” Miss Walker tells JIS News.

 

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, who opened the renovated home recently, said the facility represents the direction of his Ministry to provide the best possible care for children with special needs.

 

“It is important that we put in the resources to ensure that our children with mild disabilities are placed in quality homes, with the right amenities, so that they will be fully functional and live up to their full potential,” the State Minister said.

 

While inviting the community to support the facility, Mr. Green said the Government is very strategic in how “we deliver quality care to the most vulnerable of our children”.

 

For her part, Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, said the agency is encouraging communities to support children in State care.

 

“Reach out to our caregivers, and ask how you can help,” she said.

 

Director of Children and Family Programmes at the CPFSA, Audrey Budhi, said the boys will be getting transformational support to develop their social and entrepreneurial capabilities in agriculture, computer science and the arts.

 

She added that with such diverse skills and support, the boys will have a bright future.

 

“Whatever we do will mean the world to these children. Help our youngsters grow and develop and you will make a difference in their young lives. Just changing one child, one day at a time, you can make the difference,” the Director said.

 

Member of Parliament for East Portland, Dr. Lyndale Bloomfield, said the services now offered by the home make him “gratefully pleased”, and children from the community and elsewhere who require the services, are now very protected.

 

Up to 30 boys can be housed at the facility, which is geared at providing them with rounded skills and education. It is situated on 29 acres of land and has five dormitories, staff quarters, a section for counselling, a classroom, a computer laboratory and a recreational area.

 

CAPTION: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green (third left), and Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Roalee Gage-Grey (second left), cut the ribbon to officially open the renovated Portland-based Muirton Child Care Facility. Also pictured (from left) are Manager of the home, Chances Walker, and Member of Parliament for East Portland, Dr. Lyndale Bloomfield.