Deputy Chair of The Probation and Child Welfare Board, Mrs. Celia Christopher, has led a 10-member delegation to the United Kingdom as a study tour with attachment to Targeted Services for Youth in Liverpool while guests of the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services announced in a press release Thursday.

Head of Targeted Services for Youth in Liverpool, Ms. Emma Rathbone, has expressed delight in accommodating the St. Kitts and Nevis team and has also assured that every effort is being made to ensure the visiting delegation is offered the best opportunity to experience meaningful exchange of best practices and ideas which can be introduced in our Federation to improve the manner in which The Probation and Child Welfare Board executes its mandate.

This includes, but is not limited to, child justice issues, youth diversion programming, mentoring, and rehabilitation of young offenders.

Meetings and discussions are taking place with magistrates of the Youth Justice and Child Protection Courts during the ten-day visit, which began Sunday. The team is also having the opportunity to attend hearings of both courts and to observe practice and procedures. It is expected that court preparation procedures and related advice would also be shared with the Federation’s team.

Interface with Targeted Services for Youth is also affording the child protection staff, police officers, probation officers and caseworkers the opportunity of shadowing these professionals on case assignments to closely observe  how the various services are delivered.

While in Liverpool, the delegation from the Probation and Child Welfare Board is also expected to visit a secure children’s facility which provides rehabilitation for youth offenders, and closely resembles the NHRC.

Other members of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation to Liverpool include Senior Magistrate, Mr. Reynold Benjamin; and social workers Jacquelin Christopher and Eveta Somersall who are members of the Child Justice Committee.

Also included on the Study Tour are Inspector Mackie Smith of the Police Special Victims Unit, Acting Director of Probation and Child Protection Services (PCPS), Gerald Connor; Former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Austin Williams; Medical doctor, Sharon Archibald of the Board’s Review Committee; and Mesdames Ruby Thomas and Patricia Lake who are facilitators at New Horizons Rehabilitation Centre (NHRC).

The Study Tour is being coordinated on the ground in the UK by International Child Justice Consultant, Ms. Lucy Dawes, with whom the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services has established an important partnership: she has been providing services to the NHRC, and more recently, to the Probation and Child Protection Services Department within the Ministry.

Funding for the Study Tour has been provided by UNICEF and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services.