Children Family Service Unit
Community Residence Celebrate Children in Observance of Universal Children's Day

Children participate in one of the activities in observance of Universal Children's Day.

Each year, Universal Children’s Day is observed worldwide on 20th November, a day to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare. This year the Community Residence for Children celebrated Universal Children’s Day on Tuesday 10th December, 2019 by hosting a Sports Day specifically for children of the Residence, Probation Hostel, Technical Vocation Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Happy Haven School and the Tobago School for the Deaf, Speech and Language Impaired. The event was held at the picturesque Canoe Bay facility and the children engaged in several novelty events and sporting activities including: sprint races, football, aerobics, talent competition and team building exercises.

 
Awareness Walk in Observance of Universal Children's Day

Participants of the Awareness Walk process through Lower Scarborough.
The Children and Family Services Unit, under the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development collaboration with The Child Protection Unit, of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), the Community Social Services Unit, The Children's Authority - Tobago, The Student and Support Services Unit, of the Division of Education, Innovation and Energy, and other stakeholders to participate in an 'Awareness Walk' through Scarborough in observance of Universal Children's Day on Wednesday 20th November, 2019.

 
Parenting Skills Enhanced at Parenting and Co-Parenting Workshop

A silhouette of a nuclear family.

“Our hope is to shape better children and parents, build stronger families and a stronger society.” This according to Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development at the opening ceremony of the Parenting and Co-Parenting Workshop held by the Children and Family Services Unit under the Division on 15th August, 2019 at the Scarborough Library.

 

In her address, Dr. Carrington explained to the parents in attendance, “our expectation is that you will embrace the information, use it and make the changes we expect to see in our children and parents.” She added that the programme “is one of primary prevention to prevent those negative behaviours we have started seeing in our children and parents”. Dr. Carrington further explained that despite mistakes that may have been made, the information from the workshop presents the opportunity to make the necessary changes and do better. She informed the parents that they were making a “noble sacrifice” to attend the workshop to benefit from the information. The Secretary ended by reiterating the intent of the workshop is to ultimately “build better families, communities and a better Tobago.”

 

Mrs Dianne Baker-Henry in her remarks contextualized the importance of the workshop. She explained “our parents and grandparents long ago were not given a blue print on how to be good parents…they raised us by trial and error.” She added “you [however] are fortunate to be exposed to strategies and techniques to help be better parents to positively shape our 21st Century children.” Mrs. Baker-Henry also encouraged the parents to let their children know that they have rights, but also that they have responsibilities and that there are consequences for all actions. She further encouraged the parents to train children well because “the children we train today are the ones who will be caring us for tomorrow.” The Administrator ended by encouraging the parents to be good examples for our children to follow.

 

Dr. Derick Forrester in his welcome remarks explained “parenting is not an easy task, it has its ups and downs but the experiences make it worthwhile.” He indicated that the aim of the workshop was “to provide hope and equip parents with knowledge, skills and techniques to produce honourable children.” He added that the workshop was tailored to have a continuing positive effect on both parents and children. He too encouraged the parents to use the information and improve.

 

The Parenting and Co-Parenting Workshop was an initiative of the Children and Family Services Unit to assist its clients to improve their parenting and co-parenting skills. Additional parenting workshops will be held subsequently, encapsulating the different parenting challenges that exist.

 

The Children and Family Services Unit (C.F.S.U) provides comprehensive support to strengthen families as they cope with challenges that may arise. The Unit also promotes the economic and social well-being of children, adults, families and communities. C.F.S.U also fosters strong, healthy and supportive communities that have a positive impact on the quality of life and the development of children, adults and families. This includes the formation of key partnerships with other organizations within the Government, Business and Civil sectors of society.

 

The Unit provides:

  • Therapeutic counselling for individuals, groups and families.
  • Interventions for children in collaboration with the Children’s Authority, Police and other stakeholders.
  • Collaborations with other Units to provide Emergency Relief Support and General Assistance (only applicable to vulnerable persons).
  • Educational sessions at schools and community groups to strengthen families.

 

To access this type of support to strengthen families that are experiencing challenges, persons can contact the Unit at 639-3395 exts. 47211 – 47213 or visit the Unit at the Division’s Head Office, Habib Building, #107 Wilson Road, Scarborough, Tobago.

 
DHWFD supports the Children's Authority Launch of the Child Support Centre in Tobago

From left: Ms. Safiya Noel, Director of Children’s Authority; The Honourable Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister; Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development and Mr. Hanif Benjamin, Chairman of the Children’s Authority.

The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development supported the Children's Authority launch of the Child Support Centre in Tobago earlier today, Friday 14th December, 2018 at the Magdalena Grand Hotel. Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development delivered greetings at the launch in which she expressed “our [the Division’s] journey with the Authority from then to now is reaping benefits.” She explained that in addition to the establishment of the Authority’s Child Support Centre, the Division’s partnership with the Authority has seen the Division’s Probation Hotel being licensed for operation for the very first time and the establishment of the first ever Community Residence for Children in Tobago. Dr. Carrington said “thanks to the Authority for this gift to our children”. She also expressed her expectations for further positive results with the partnership with the Authority.

 
DHWFD signs MOU with Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

Representatives from the THA and the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago pose for a photo after signing the Memorandum of Understanding.


The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development (DHWFD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago earlier today, Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 at the Division’s Head Office, Habib Building, #107 Wilson Road, Scarborough, Tobago.

This MOU will formalize the continued partnership between the Division and the Authority, whereby each party’s resources will be optimized and service delivery will be enhanced to ensure the care and protection of all children on the Island, especially those who are at risk or have been victims of abuse or neglect.

The Honourable Kelvin Charles, Chief Secretary of Tobago House of Assembly; Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development; Mrs. Dianne Baker-Henry, Administrator in the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development and Mr. Hanif Benjamin, Chairman of the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago all conveyed their commitment to this partnership between the Division and Authority, to ensure our children on the Island receive the best care and protection.

 
Historic Opening of Community Residence for Children in Tobago

Some of the dignitaries present at the opening of the Community Residence for Children.

In what is being hailed as an ‘historic event,’ the Honourable Kelvin Charles Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, and other dignitaries were present at the Commissioning Ceremony for the Community Residence for Children on Thursday 23rd August, 2018. (Note that the location cannot be revealed as a measure to protect the current and future residents). The Community Residence for Children was launched under the auspices of the Division and will provide a safe home for our children who are exposed to and are in situations of risk.

 

The Chief Secretary, in delivering the address at the ceremony, commended the Secretary and staff at the Division for ‘aggressively pursuing this initiative.’ He said, “Today represents a period of rebirth or renaissance for this community … The reorganisation of the Division [came from] the idea that we work out of the communities [so that] we intervene more quickly.” Speaking directly to the Manager of the newly opened Centre, Mr. Kern Walker, the Honourable Chief Secretary stated, “… you have the tremendous burden to adhere to quality, provide opportunities and an expected duty of care so that we don’t lose them [the children].”

 

Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of the Health, Wellness and Family Development stated that although there were several administrative challenges, she was pleased to participate in this event and that it was “history in the making.” Re-iterating the point that the centre was the first of its kind in the island of Tobago, she stated “The Executive Council agreed to this collaboration between the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and the Division and through the directive of the Chief Secretary … we thought it was necessary to provide care and support for children in need.” Dr. Carrington noted that the facility is able to house twelve children, and was established within the guidelines and standards of the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Dr. Carrington also indicated that the Community Residence for Children would be monitored by the Facilities Review Committee – Homes for Children, led by Dr. Maria Dillon-Remy. The Secretary expressed gratitude to the Chief Secretary, the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, the Administrator, the Caregivers, the Child Psychologist at the Division and all those whose contribution would have led to the successful opening of the Centre.

 

Mrs. Dianne Baker-Henry, Administrator at the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development welcomed all attendees to the event and indicated that “the facility opens its doors for persons with different experiences and backgrounds … and it was an opportunity for each young child [at the Centre] to build or experience guidance and motivation to improve the quality of their life.” The Administrator noted the recent observance of International Youth Day (observed on 12th August) and its theme ‘Safe Space for Youth’ and she declared that the Centre was indeed a safe space.

 

Mr. Hanif Benjamin, Chairman of the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and Dr. Maria Dillon-Remy, Chairman of the Facilities Review Committee – Homes for Children both delivered greetings at the Ceremony, where they both shared the scope of work at each organisation and both gave their commitment to do everything in their power to protect our children and provide safe spaces for them. 11 year old Hadassah Daniel, a member of the Tobago Writers Guild performed a spoken word piece entitled ‘Protecting My Future’ where she pleaded on behalf of all children for the opportunity to be a child and the right to an education. (Note that Ms. Daniel is not a resident at the facility and attended in her capacity as an artiste.)

 

The Community Residence for Children was blessed by Bishop Robinson C. Alleyne of the Healing Tabernacle Ministries, followed by the cutting of the ribbon, the unveiling of the commemorative stone and a short tour of the Centre.

 

The residence will house children ages 1-17 years and the legal requirements and guidelines for the establishment and licensing of the Residence will be strictly followed. Additionally, consistent with the Children’s Authority guidelines, the admissions will be assessed by a team of professionals prior to admission to the residence.

 
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES 2018!!!

Today (May 15th, 2018) is International Day of the Families. The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development joins the world in celebrating all our families, which is considered as the foundation of any society.

International Day of Families is observed on May 15th every year and provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them.

The theme for this year is “Families and Inclusive Societies”. This year’s observance explores the role of families and family policies in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 16, particularly promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.

More peaceful and inclusive societies can only be achieved if the ills in our society such as crime, violence, and exploitation are reduced. These ills present significant challenges for our families and restricts the many attempts towards peace and inclusivity.

Despite these challenges, the Division remains committed to providing a range of interventions to help our men, women and children cope with the multiple challenges that may arise.

The Division has its role to play but cannot treat with the complex issues our families face alone. All sectors of society need to be a part of this journey. Regardless of your family type, the Division encourages all families to love and celebrate each other, not just today, but every day of the year. The Division goes further to challenge families to consider “What can we do to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development?” Families are encouraged to do their part to reduce the ills in our society by promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.

Happy International Day of Families from the Division of Health, Wellness ad Family Development!

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2nd Stakeholder meeting with Managers of Nurseries/ Daycares

A group photo of attendees at the 2nd Stakeholder meeting for Managers of Daycares/ Nurseries

On Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, the Facilities Review Committee – Homes for Children held its second stakeholder meeting with Managers of Nurseries and Day Care Facilities at the Division’s Conference Room. This meeting was primarily for stakeholders who could not attend the first meeting that was held on Tuesday, 27th February, 2018. The meeting provided an avenue for the Committee members to formally interact with Nursery and Day-care Facility stakeholders on the Island, share pertinent information on the Committee’s remit and the statutory guidelines for the management and operation of Nurseries / Day-care Facilities in Tobago and encourage persons to candidly share their relevant experiences and concerns with the Committee members. 19 nurseries / day care facilities were represented at the meeting.

Representatives from the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago also attended to share information on the regulations that outline the standards to which the Nurseries and their managers would be held accountable. The regulations are outlined in the Children’s Community Residences, Foster Care and Nurseries Act 65 of 2000. These regulations will only be enforced when Sections 42-52 of the Act are proclaimed in the Parliament. However, the Children’s Authoirty and the Facilities Review Committee will continue to sensitize stakeholders on these regulations in preparation for the Proclamation of Sections 42-52 of the Act.

 
Nursery managers meet with Facilities Review C'tee and Children's Authority

Ms. Chandrakala Sooknanan of the CATT speak to attendees at the stakeholder's meeting


On Tuesday, 27th February, 2018, the Facilities Review Committee – Homes for Children held its first stakeholder meeting with Managers of Nurseries and Day Care Facilities at the Division’s Conference Room. The meeting provided an avenue for the Committee members to formally interact with Nursery and Day-care Facility stakeholders on the Island, share pertinent information on the Committee’s remit and the statutory guidelines for the management and operation of Nurseries / Day-care Facilities in Tobago and encourage persons to candidly share their relevant experiences and concerns with the Committee members. 19 nurseries / day care facilities were represented at the meeting.

Representatives from the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago also attended to share information on the regulations that outline the starndards to which the Nurseries and their managers would be held accountable. The regulations are outlined in the Children’s Community Residences, Foster Care and Nurseries Act 65 of 2000. These regulations will only be enforced when Sections 42-52 of the Act are proclaimed in the Parliament. However, the Children’s Authoirty and the Facilities Review Committee will continue to sensitize stakeholders on these regulations in preparation for the Proclamation of Sections 42-52 of the Act.

Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development and Mrs. Dianne Baker-Henry, Administrator of the Division were also in attendance to commend and endorse the work of the Committee. Dr. Carrington said “this committee was set up to ensure that the areas where our children are being nurtured are kept at high standards in all aspects of the delivery of care to our children.” She stressed, “the focus of this Division is on the family, which is the foundation of society and our children are extremely important in the family setting…we have a responsibility to ensure that they get the best care that they deserve.”

The Facilities Review Committee for Homes for Children was established by Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development in May 2017, to treat with inspection, assessment and reporting on ALL Homes for Children in Tobago. The Committee comprises a range of professionals whose main duty is to ensure that all our children get the best care and attention that they deserve.

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is a specialised agency with the responsibility for the care and protection of children, especially those who are at risk or have been victims of abuse or neglect.  The Authority advocates for the rights of children, and encourages and supports them to enjoy their childhood.  The organisation’s overarching objective is to utilise child-friendly and progressive solutions to address children’s issues and rehabilitate them so that their full potential is realised.

 
Sec meets with reps from Children's Authority

Secretary meeting with representatives from the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, met with representatives of the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago led by its Director, Ms. Safiya Noel, as it regards setting up the Children’s Authority office in Tobago before the end of this fiscal year. This meeting was held at the Division’s Head Office at Glen Road on Thursday 8th June, 2017. The Chairman of the newly installed Facilities Review Committee (Homes for Children), Dr. Maria Dillon-Remy, Mr. Alexander Thomas, Social Worker at the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development and Mr. Bertrand Moses, Coordinator, Child Development, Office of the Prime Minister were also in attendance.

Dr. Carrington welcomed the Children’s Authority team and expressed her excitement that the first meeting for this major project was underway. She stated, ‘I expect results and at the end of all these meetings should be the establishment of the Children’s Authority office in Tobago.’ Similarly, the Director of the Authority, Ms. Noel pointed out that this project was on the Authority’s table for quite some time and she was pleased that the first steps were being taken to bring these plans to fruition.

The discussions covered various areas including the establishment of the Authority’s office, an Assessment Centre and two Children Support Centres; one in the east and the other in the west of Tobago. It was further discussed that the operations of the centre would also need the support of other key stakeholders. The Secretary reminded everyone that the Honourable Ayanna Webster-Roy expressed her keen interest in these projects and gave her commitment to assist in making them a reality.

Following the meeting, both teams made site visits to proposed locations for the Children’s Authority, Tobago Office and the Assessment Centre for the west of the Island. 

 
PAM's Men's Empowerment Workshop

A group of the participants at PAM's Men's Empowerment Workshop

The Programme for Adoloscent Mothers (PAM), under the Department of Social Services of the Division of Health and Social Services, in collaboration with the Gender Affairs Unit and the Children and Family Services Unit, held a Men's Empowerment Workshop on Thursday 14th July, 2016 at the DIPU Conference Room, Shaw Park.

The Managers of PAM have observed that the young women within the programme often question the role of men in society. Traditionally, men were given the roles of the leader, and provider whilst the women were the home makers and tend to focus on nurturing the children. The role of men seem to have come into wuestion since it is argued that they have abandoned their toles and responsibilities within the family and community.

 
Universal Children's Day 2015

Excited pre-school toddlers at the church service in observance of Universal Children's Day

The Children and Family Services Unit, of the Division of Health and Social Services commemorated Universal Children's Day 2015 with a church service at the Spring Garden/ Bethesda Moravian Church. The theme for this year's observance was 'Stop Violence Against Children.'

 
International Day of Families 2015!

Members of the DHSS and participants of the Family Development Programme
The Children and Family Services Unit, of the Division of Health and Social Services commemorated International Day of Families at the John Dial Community Centre on Friday 15th June, 2015.

 
Phase III, Life Management and Parenting Training Workshop

Phase III, Life Management and Parenting Training Workshop

Phase three of the Life Management and Parenting Training Workshop, hosted by Department of Social Services, under The Division of Health and Social Services (Tobago House of Assembly), will be held at the Argyle Community Centre from 25th - 27th March, 2014, from 8.30 am - 1 pm.

 
Carnival Awareness Walk and Cultural Expo

Students at the PAM Carnival Awareness Walk

The Programme for Adoloscent Mothers (PAM) under the Department of Social Services, of the Division of Health and Social Services, held a Carnival Walk and Cultural Show, themed "Abstinence - Extreme Safety" on Friday 27th February, 2014 from Tambrin Square (Uptown Scarborough) to the Scarborough Esplanade.

This event was geared towards promoting safety and helping youths to make informed choices during the Carnival period and beyond. The walk included students from various Secondary schools across the island and other interest groups. There were performances by local artistes including Joel "Positive" Murray.

 
Phase II, Life Training and Parenting Training Workshop

Parenting_Workshop_Flyer

The Department of Social Services, under the Division of Health and Social Services, would begin the second traning of the Life Management and Parenting Training Workshop at the Moriah Community Centre on 24th, 25th and 26th February, 2014 from 8.30 a, to 1 pm.

This training is being offered throughout the electoral districts of Tobago and interested persons are advised to register accordingly.

Interested persons within the Providence/ Mason Hall/ Moriah electoral district are invited to contact the Children and Family Services Unit at 639-1512 ext. 235 or visit the Department of Social Services office at Montessori Drive, Glen Road, Tobago.

 
Launch of the Life Management and Parenting Training Programme

Secretary, Assistant Secretary of DHSS and the 18 professionals who completed the training.
The Department of Social Services, under the Division of Health and Social Services, launched the Life Management and Parenting Training Programme,

 
R.E.A.C.H Grant Disbursement Ceremony 2013

REACH repients photo
The Realization of Economic Achievement Program is an initiative which focuses mainly on community empowerment and poverty eradication among the poor and vulnerable throughout Tobago, to assist

 
Notice of Parenting Seminar for Health Heritage Month 2012

Child


The Division of Health and Social Services, Department of Social Services invites you to participate in a series of seminar/workshop on Parenting.                                               

DATE

October 9 and 23, 2012

TIME

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

VENUE

Works Lecture Room

REGISTRATION & CONFIRMATION

Old Government Farm Road, Shaw Park, Tobago. Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (limited seating available)

TELEPHONE

# 635-1791, 639-1512

                 Slogan “ Awake up to Health Parenting Practices