Sun | Sep 24, 2017

CDA : We are willing to say sorry - Agency wants to help scarred former state wards heal

Published:Thursday | May 11, 2017 | 5:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Rosalee Gage Grey, chief executive officer at the Child Development Agency.

Rosalee Gage Grey, chief executive officer at the Child Development Agency (CDA), said that she is willing to apologise to past wards of the State who have been scarred emotionally or otherwise while in state care.

The CDA boss explained to The Gleaner that the agency is aware that there are some things that could have been done better, and as such, she is making an appeal to citizens who have passed through the system to come forward and share their story.

"There might be persons who would have passed through, who were hurt by being there, or who didn't feel that they belong. We want to provide an avenue so that even at this late stage, we can provide some assistance and they can tell us what went wrong. Tell us how you think we can help others who are coming up. Share your story and help us to change the system from within," she urged, following the launch of the CDA's Volunteer Programme this week.

"We are willing to say sorry as well if we have hurt them in some way. They can call us, and if they want help to go on tape and share their story, then we can do that as well. Some might want closed meetings and some might want access to a clinical psychologist or even private support services. We can provide that."

 

IMPROVING THE SYSTEM

 

She encouraged persons not to be daunted by stigma, and, instead, use their story to assist other children and also to help with improving the system.

"We do understand that what we do sometimes can affect persons. So whether it is from an emotional standpoint, from a physical standpoint, from somebody who feels that they did not achieve because of something that was done, we are saying, 'Come forward'," Gage Grey said.

"We actually have a lot of prominent persons who have been through the system, but because of the stigma, they don't want to talk about it. However, we do know that the scar of abuse can last for a lifetime, and so our efforts are to try to see how we can soften [the blows] and get them to live."

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com