Sun | Feb 18, 2018

'We stand with you' - Reid assures parents of wards killed in fire of government support

Published:Thursday | January 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Education Ruel Reid (centre) presents Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), with care packages donated by corporate Jamaica for survivors of the fire that destroyed the Walker’s Place of Safety on Monday night. Sharing in the moment is state minister Floyd Green.

Youth Minister Ruel Reid said the Government would make every effort to assist the parents of the two female wards of the State who perished in a fire at the Walker's Place of Safety in St Andrew on Monday night.

Reid, along with State Minister for Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green met the parents of the children for the first time yesterday at the Kingston offices of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

Following a brief, private discussion, Reid told reporters that the relatives were still shocked and saddened by what had transpired.

"We're working with them through grief counselling while giving them other support. We're also making arrangements for the burial as soon as the police release the bodies. We're going to do all that we can to help them journey through this difficult time," he said.

"It's important that Minister Green gets a clear understanding of what transpired. We're going to do a full audit of all the children's homes to make sure that they are all operating at the requisite standard so we can mitigate any possible recurrence of fires because this is not the first instance that has occurred at children's homes, so we need, very importantly, to get to the bottom of this one."

Having handed over care packages and other necessary items to the CPFSA for the surviving wards, Reid used the opportunity to urge corporate Jamaica and all citizens to contribute to children's homes all year round, not just in times of tragedy.

"When I see the outpouring of support from corporate and ordinary Jamaicans, I'm making an appeal that I don't want this to be a one-off. I want persons to give regularly to our children's homes, because they need everything that we can spare to give," Reid stated.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com