Montserrat Strategic Development Plan

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1 1.0 Background Terms of Reference: Child Safeguarding Specialist Montserrat is a UK Overseas Territory in the Eastern Caribbean with a population of 4,900 people. The ongoing volcanic eruptions, which began in 1995, destroyed the capital city and the airport, rendering two-thirds of the island uninhabitable. A small community continued to keep Montserrat alive in the North. Families were torn apart as many left to live in the UK the US, Antigua and other Caribbean islands, resulting in a population decline of around 50% between 1995 and the present day. It is an island with a strong religious background and has a Christian Council that speaks on behalf of many of the churches that it represents. This population has necessarily been joined by other nationals from countries notably from Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Santa Domingo, Puerto Rico and other nations where persons have been seeking paid employment and a quieter life from strife in their own countries. The population now stands at nearly The influx of persons from other cultures has brought challenges of language and other cultural issues. The last census, completed , revealed that 27% are non-nationals. Child Safeguarding There are on-going concerns about child safeguarding on Montserrat dating back several years. Successive DFID funded regional programmes on child safeguarding, dating back to 2007, worked with officials on Montserrat to address concerns, providing training and advice. Meanwhile, the UK Convention of the Rights of the Child Committee raised concerns about the lack of child abuse data across the OTs (2008); a UNICEF/DFID funded report on child sexual abuse in the Eastern Caribbean raised issues about sexual exploitation of teenage girls by older men in Montserrat 1 ; as did a more recent report by UNICEF about child rights in the Eastern Caribbean 2. More recently the Montserrat Premier has chaired a high level government meeting (2011) to push forward this agenda, asking for an action plan setting out forward plans. Specific child safeguarding concerns include: (i) the shifting of children in the Caribbean that occurs to and from the UK, US, and other islands and countries in the region. This is for three main reasons: 1 Devastated Childhoods: Study of Perception on Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean. A Jones and E Jemmott, April Child Rights: the Unfinished Agenda, UNICEF 2010; Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean, UNICEF, May

2 - Children who stay behind while their parents or legal guardians migrate - Children who migrate to family or non-family members that they barely know or are unfamiliar with - Children who return to their country of origin/birth in the Caribbean due to behavioural issues.*1 (ii) Sexual exploitation of young people (iii) Sexual abuse of minors by minors (iv) Child neglect In Montserrat recent research shows that the sexual activity by young persons as they reach puberty appears to be increasing.*4 There is a need to address this issue. Montserrat Strategic Development Plan The overarching strategic goal that the Ministry of Health and Social Services strives to attain as reflected in the Montserrat Strategic Development Plan is Enhanced human development and improved quality of life for all people on Montserrat. The relevant mid-term objective that relates to the Social Services Department (SSD) is To develop and implement policies and programmes to enhance the well-being of the vulnerable population. The Ministry of Health and Social Services Strategic Plan and the SSD Operational Plan : These Strategic Plans highlight the need for: The implementation of child protection and fostering procedures and practice. Training of trainers for ongoing child protection training in key agencies. The need for a safeguarding strategy for vulnerable adults and the elderly. The implementation of the Draft Fostering Policy, procedures and practice. The establishment of a combined Safeguarding Fostering and Adoption Board to monitor child abuse and protection responses on Montserrat and to review monitor and approve the relevant assessments in these areas of work. The need for consultation with the relevant stakeholders for the forthcoming Child Care and Adoption legislation Close collaboration is planned with department of the Ministry of Health in the implementation of the newly approved hospital and health care improvement project which includes strengthening and expanding care for elderly persons. 2

3 2.0 PURPOSE Working to the Director of Social Services and with the Senior Social Worker, the Child Safeguarding Specialist is expected to play a key role in leading the development and implementation of a multi-agency Child Safeguarding framework for Montserrat. 3.0 Scope of Work The role will require close collaboration with senior GoM officials in Health, Education, the Police (including Immigration), Labour, the justice system (including the Attorney General, Public Prosecutor, the Courts); and also with the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Governor. The post holder has the following principal responsibilities: To develop a multi-agency child safeguarding framework for Montserrat; To develop a safeguarding training programme for trainers in key agencies; To develop a training programme for the recruitment of foster and adoptive carers; Support the development of a self help group for foster carers on the island; Child Care/Adoption Legislation currently planned and in place with resulting training needs for SSD / key agencies developed and implemented; An Adoption Service in accordance with the new Child Care & Adoption Act to be in place if time allows with legislation still to be enacted; Spear-head a framework for multi-agency working to improve child safeguarding in Montserrat, developing closer multi-agency collaboration and oversight in their respective areas of responsibility; Act as an advocate for children within Government and with civil society; Set up mechanisms for an effective Child Safeguarding Board and ensure implementation, oversight and monitoring; Enhance the professional knowledge and skills of key agency staff, identifying and supporting multi-agency level child safeguarding capacity building requirements; Support the development of a high quality Fostering and Adoption Service in Montserrat, including a new Legal framework for Child Care and Adoption in Montserrat; Contribute to planning, developing and monitoring processes to improve child safeguarding across the key agencies. 4.0 EXPECTED OUTPUTS The Child Safeguarding Specialist will be required to develop and implement the following: A multi-agency Child Safeguarding Strategy and Policy, with an agreed multi-agency plan for managing child abuse and child protection referrals. 3

4 A Child Safeguarding Board (set up and operational), exploring also the possibility of adapting this forum to a Fostering and Adoption Board, when required, or otherwise identifying alternative arrangements. Multi-agency safeguarding protocols in association with the Senior Social Worker, (implementing/sourcing expertise as required) Fostering and adoption protocols for SSD staff and for foster carers. An awareness raising programme undertaken for Civil Society on Child Abuse/Child Protection matters in association with the Government of Montserrat and Social Services Department. Audits and reviews of key agencies child safeguarding procedures and practices as required. 4.1 Reporting The Child Safeguarding Specialist, under the supervision of the SSD Director will be required to: Prepare a work plan within one month of commencing post, regularly updating this. Quarterly reports submitted to the PS Health, the SSD Director and relevant departments. These reports will be shared with the Governor and with DFID. End of Contract report with key milestones achieved, recommendations for future work and an agreed action plan prior to departure. 5.0 RECIPIENT Ministry of Health and Social Services, Government Headquarters, Brades. QUALIFICATIONS SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE 6.1 Essential The person engaged will be expected to have worked as a Qualified Social Worker for at least ten years, the majority of which should have been in the Child Care (Child Protection) Services, with practice experience in foster care and/or adoption work. The person should also have worked in a managerial capacity / supervisory role for at least five years. Experience in training of personnel working in the Social Services field in aspects of social work, and especially training for prospective foster carers. 6.2 Education 4

5 UK /International Qualified Social Worker with a degree or MA in Social Work or Social Studies combined with a Professional training in Social work. An essential component in their education should be Psychology. 6.3 Registration Must have a current registration with the General Social Care Council UK or their international equivalent. 6.4 Desirable A management qualification. A relevant Masters Degree Personal requirements for the post: Must be able to work in a small multi-culture community, with an understanding of the impact current social work practice may have on culture A Flexible approach to work with a willingness to assist with the provision of services when there are staff and technical capacity shortfalls. Must be a good communicator. 7.0 DURATION The person engaged shall be in the position for a two year contractual period. 8.0 REPORTING AND MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS. Report to the PS Department of Health and Social Services. 9.0 OTHER REQUIREMENTS An up to date Criminal Records Bureau check as part of our policy of safer recruitment CONFIDENTIALITY All information, data and documentation belonging to the government of Montserrat shall be treated by the Child Care and Protection Consultant as confidential and shall not, at any time during or after the termination of his/her engagement, be disclosed by the Child Care and Protection Consultant, his servants, or agents or any third party without written consent of the Government DISPUTE RESOLUTION 5

6 In the event of a dispute between parties concerning any matter arising from or concerned with this agreement, the parties shall use reasonable efforts to settle the dispute through negotiations conducted in good faith between the respective senior officers of the party who have authority to settle the same AMENDMENTS Amendments to this agreement may be made only in consultation with the service provider and the Ministry of Health and Social Services. 6

7 ANNEX I Social Services Department (SSD): The Social Services is part of the Ministry of Health with the Permanent Secretary (PS) at its head. The Social Services Department was previously named the Community Services Department. The new name reflects the different orientation of their work since the volcanic crisis some seventeen years ago. The focus over the past two years has been to introduce professional social work practice into the work of officers with all client groups. A qualified Social worker (Community Development Advisor) has been assisting the department in teaching Social work processes and practice and developing relevant assessment tools for all client groups. The Department structure is headed by a Director of Social Services. A senior Social worker has management responsibility for social work practice in child and adult care including child safeguarding. This person would also provide regular staff supervision / performance management. The post is currently vacant. Three Community Development Officers (CDO s) undertake a generic social worker role with all client groups, although two officers tend to work mostly with the elderly /disabled people in the community or warden supported accommodation. One of these is a recently qualified social worker. A dedicated Child Care officer (qualified Social Worker) and a Probation Officer further make up the team. A separate Social Welfare Office (SWO) deals with the applications for financial benefits and is staffed by a senior and junior welfare officer. Child Care Community Care: Community Development Officers (CDO) each visit a geographical area of Montserrat on a weekly basis to receive referrals from concerned residents/other professionals regarding child safeguarding issues or other problems e.g. domestic violence, housing issues. They also work in conjunction with SWO colleagues, the Housing Unit and other agencies. Children with disabilities are usually only seen by the Educational Psychologist and not referred for family support to Social Services. Multi-agency working is minimal. A disability policy and multi-agency procedures is not yet in place. Fostering and Adoption Work: Fostering and adoption in Montserrat has until recently, been managed informally with the CDO s relying on local knowledge of persons who would most suitably fit these roles. This service has therefore lacked the 7

8 structure needed to ensure that children s needs are managed according to established protective procedures. A draft Fostering policy has been prepared and procedural standards developed according to recognized best practice. One foster carer has recently been approved for placements. Adoptive procedures are also available. A training programme for foster and adoptive carers is urgently required. Residential Care: There used to be a residential unit for children in need of urgent care, but this was lost when the volcano erupted. A rented house has been sourced to provide care for a teenager whose needs demand institutional rather than purely foster care. Internationally recognized residential standards have been adapted to suit the size and functions of this small residential home that is the only safety net for children urgently in need of care. Further information regarding other client groups is contained in the annex. 1.2 Strategic Work: The development of Safeguarding The Social Services Department is seen as the focal point for all child abuse referrals. Referral, assessment and reviewing tools have been prepared and a Child Protection procedural manual has been provided to all Community Development Officers. Initial teaching on these procedures and the related legal framework has also been undertaken, A multi-agency Policy Guideline booklet has been developed for professionals and training made available for a number of key agencies. Child protection protocols are slowly being developed with key ministries. A safeguarding strategy for vulnerable adults and the elderly 8

9 Annex II Additional Information SCOT: The Safeguarding Children in the Overseas Territories (SCOT) programme attempted to build on an earlier British Government child protection awareness raising programme in providing an advisory and mentoring programme for the Overseas Territories. A child protection workshop in March 2012 set the first five safeguarding standards for Montserrat, and created the opportunity to develop a Safeguarding Booklet Policy Guideline and multi-agency training for professionals in understanding and managing Child Abuse/Child Protection and how to respond to instances of Child Abuse. Adult / Elderly Care: Residential care is managed in the privately run Golden Years Home, and for nursing care Margetson Memorial Home that is attached to and run by the hospital. Fourty seven Warden supported apartments are administered by Social Services and provides for semi-independent living. There are two wardens. Disabilities: The provision of timely support of aids and adaptations to persons as part of a rehabilitation care plan for adults and elderly persons is limited. Providers of equipment are working individually and in an ad hoc way. Mental Health: A mental Health Unit provides support for all age groups with a Community Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who runs the service with the support of an off-island psychiatrist. He visits every two monthsthe Community Mental Health Officer (CMHO) post has been vacant for some years requiring this service to be supported where needed by the CDO s. There are current plans for recruitment of a CMHO. Source material : *1 A Framework and Recommendations for Action on Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean UNICEF / Caricom / International Organisation for Migration (IOM). *2 Competency Guidelines for Newly Qualified Social Workers UK National Occupational Standards for Social Work. *3 Achieving Best Evidence Practitioners Guidance. Dept. of Justice UK. Montserrat Strategic development plan OECS Model Family Legislation Booklet 2 Child Care and Adoption. Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean UNICEF/DfID. Keeping Children Safe. Jenny Myers. Save the Children UK *4Montserrat Youth Health Survey, 2011 PAHO 9

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