…Centre is “1st stop” for children in need of care, operating 24/7— CCPA DirectorIn order to provide a sanctuary for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, while ensuring that the each child has opportunities for self-development, a $250 million Children and Family Centre was commissioned on Thursday.One of the buildings in the Children and Family Centre compound that was commissioned on Thursday in Plum Park, Sophia, Greater GeorgetownSocial Protection Minister Amna Ally at the commissioning stated that Centre will assist children at risk or in need of protective care and will offer an alternative to caregivers at risk for abandoning or placing their child in residential care.“All children living at the Centre are expected to attend school or be enrolled at a day care if they have not attained school age. Meanwhile, parents will be encouraged to work, attend a job training programme, seek housing and employment, and attend social service appointments,” Ally said.She explained that there will be dedicated social workers functioning at the facility, who will each be assigned to work with every family so as to create an individualised care plan that will address their unique needs.“The family accommodation is temporary-transitional housing, meaning there must be an immediate plan to provide social work intervention and other assistance to the family for them to secure independent living accommodation”.Both children and family members housed there will become empowered towards “independence and self-sufficiency,” she stressed.Meanwhile, the Director at the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA), Ann Greene, stated that having such a holding facility established is part of making a serious effort in preventing the unnecessary separation of children from their families. It will also aid in the promotion of family-based care for minors.“The new Children and Family Centre is the first stop for a child in difficult circumstances and will be accessible 24/7. It is a centre where children on arrival will be assessed to determine the needed assistance. After the completion of the assessment stage, and if there is need for a long-term out of home care, family-based care such as the kinship and foster care will be the first option”.According to Greene, there are small group homes that were developed to provide for the needs of juveniles who “come into contact” with the law. There are four dormitories to accommodate the children housed at this facility—two for boys and two for girls.The CCPA Director explained that this would ensure that the very young children are prevented from being around the older ones since the facility will house children who come from different backgrounds and for various reasons.This Centre is located in Plum Park, Sophia, Greater Georgetown.It has been established to house 80 individuals at a time and consists of seven buildings, which include the dormitory facilities for both boys and girls, living quarters for up to eight families, kitchen, dining room, administration building and training facilities.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said that the project was financed by remaining money from an Inter-American Development (IDB) loan which was granted under the People’s Progressive Party government.