Social workers to do community, school visits
For the first time, the Hear the Children's Cry organisation will be able to hire a social worker to visit homes and schools of children who run away.
Expressing gratitude to the Supreme Ventures Limited for donating $2.8 million to assist with the venture, Betty Ann Blaine, co-founder of the children's agency, indicated that the method of conducting phone interviews was inadequate.
"For years, we have been looking for help to do home visits and school visits for the children who go missing. Over the years, what we have done mainly were telephone interviews, which were very extensive, but we have always wanted to hire a social worker," she said.
"They would go into the communities and do the home visits as most of the kids who run away are having problems at home. But there's no one doing home visits and, so, there is a gap," she continued.
Blaine further explained: "The ones who come back and are to attend school, that is another problem, [because] some schools don't want to take them back. But [regarding] the ones who are actually received in school again, there are problems when it comes to adjusting. Some go away for weeks and months and are having a hard time at school," Blaine told The Gleaner.
"We are grateful for this contribution from Supreme Ventures, which will enable us to hire a social worker who will able to go into the homes, do the case studies, go into the schools, work with guidance counsellors and ensure that the kids who have returned will do well," said Blaine.
The child advocate also indicated that over time the organisation would be embarking on a longitudinal study to see how children who run away were adjusting.