$70M for critical services for children in Guyana

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud says $70 million have been allocated to provide services for the care of the children of essential workers and others across the country.

Principal among these are the measures to ensure that the more than 1,500 children of frontline workers are not left unattended while their parents are on duty.

“We will be ensuring our Difficult Circumstances Unit assist our healthcare workers, disciplined services employees, janitorial staff at various ministries among other essential workers,” Minister Persaud said.

There are 225 childcare service centres countrywide, with measures in place to extend collaboration to public and private partners who are willing to provide night care services overseen by the Ministry.

“Once children are enrolled, every month payments will be given to the day care providers. It will not at any time, be coming out of the pockets of those who are at the frontline amid the pandemic,” Minister Persaud explained.

With regard to childcare and the juvenile justice system, the Minister explained that the two entities work together to protect minors and it is vital that they receive the necessary support and structure to tackle violence against children effectively.

“Before the end of the last quarter the Juvenile Justice System will be mapped. Rehabilitation services will be essential because we seek to properly help these youths in our care be reintegrated back to society with their families. We need them to be able to find good jobs and become good citizens of this nation,” Minister Persaud said.

Children from the hinterland regions will also benefit.

“Out of this $70 million, we will be training persons in the hinterland regions to engage the people of the far reached regions to tackle all child abuse matters and this is because the cases there are high. Twenty point five million was set aside to purchase three [all] terrain vehicles for CPA [Child Protection Agency] in order for them to reach victims in a timely manner. We cannot have a gap in transportation,” the Minister explained.

The Ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs to ensure that the services reach those in need. The allocation will also fund services for indigent persons. They will be relocated from the streets and given accommodation at the Night Shelter where they will be offered psychosocial support, healthy meals, and healthcare services.

The Minister made these disclosures during the debates on the Budget Estimates in the National Assembly.