Online at www.EleutheraNews.com
The Eleutheran | Mar/Apr 2017
Social Services Continued from pg. 8 under the community support umbrella, for critical needs of senior citizens. Financial assistance may also be made available in dire cases for assistance with electricity and water bills, and in some cases purchase assistance for beds, refrigerators or stoves, also medicines, and fire relief. Burial assistance may also be available, up to $650 per death. All assistance, said, Mrs. Fernander, is reliant on the availability of funds at any given time. The sensitive area of Child Protection is another key tenet of service provided by the department. In cases of child abuse, Mrs. Fernander commented, “The sad thing about this area, is that we can’t be proactive in it, other than sensitizing the public about it. We are really reactive, when the situation has already happened, that’s when we step in. If we need Police assistance, then we would refer the case, based upon each one individually.” In 2016, there were 10 reported sexual abuse cases in the district, 12 cases of neglect, 2 cases of verbal abuse, and 9 cases of physical abuse, totaling to 33 child abuse cases dealt with by Social Services last year. “This figure represented a decrease, compared to 2015,” she said. Social Services also handle circumstances in the area of Probation. They deal with cases for both adults and minors referred by the courts, in terms of probationary reports, like in the case of drugs, home investigations, counseling and guidance, youth behavioral issues (truancy, theft etc…), as well as referrals to the boys and girls industrial schools. The ‘National Lunch’ program also falls under the umbrella of Social Services (in reference to assessments), with just under 200 students across the district receiving lunch assistance. Family Services is another area where the trained officers on island are utilized, in cases of custody, divorce, separation, adoption, foster care, as well as child care facilities. In addition to their regular programs, the Department also offers Parenting Classes, with a group session held at least once per year (2017 group session scheduled for the month of June), as well as other sessions in response to court ordered participation. The Department of Social Services for the Eleuthera District has 4 Social Service Officers (stationed in Harbour Island, Lower Bogue, Governor’s Harbour, and Rock Sound), 3 Trained Officers (stationed in Rock Sound, Governor’s Harbour, and in Lower Bogue - who can deal with any matters pertaining to Social Services), as well as CaseAids, Clerks, Home Helpers and Custodial Staff, 14 dedicated staff across The Eleuthera district in all.
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The Eleutheran Newspaper (March/April 2017). Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells Bahamas news, information, real estate, highlight...