Hanover court takes on juvenile delinquency
In an important social initiative, the Family Court in Hanover has undertaken an ambitious drive to address the issue of juvenile delinquency in the high schools the western parish.
The court has piloted a programme at the Green Island High School, one element of which is a parenting workshop, which was held at the Watson Taylor Drive-based court last week under the theme 'Parenting Amid the Crisis'. It was designed to sensitise and empower parents of affected children.
Veronica Whyte , the vice-principal assigned to the school's morning shift, told Western Focus that the support from the Family Court, including the parish judge, Deon Gallimore Rose, had helped greatly to remedy the issues with which the troubled teens and their parents were struggling.
"This workshop came out of a desperate need to address the social issues that our students were having. We at Green Island do have an active partnership with other state agencies, and at the Family Court, we really get sterling results," said Gallimore Rose. "The parents are being empowered, so they are given the tools and the knowledge."
According to Whyte, the school had students who were considered to be seriously at risk because of behavioural issues, which the Family Court's intervention helped to address.
"We had Mrs (Cordelia) Cunningham along with Justice Rose, who came and counselled these students. They came to the school about a month ago. And now this is really like a follow-up," said Whyte. "We really want to concretise the thing, so now we are addressing the parents through this medium."
Desire to assist students
Whyte said one of the main reasons for the partnership with the Family Court was the school's desire to assist students to prevent them from running afoul of the law and to become more productive and positive.
"We have really had to channel a lot of our hardened cases to the Family Court, and I suspect that it is a wake-up call for the children and the parents when they realise that it is the next bastion between them and the criminal court," stated Whyte. "So it is a wake-up call, but we want them to realise that it is not all a matter of being hard handed and high handed. We really care about children and about making them productive citizens out there, so we really want to do everything possible to show that they get the best chance to become worthwhile citizens."
Cordelia Cunningham, the acting senior social worker at the Hanover Family Court, told Western Focus that the parenting workshop, which catered to approximately 20 parents, mainly mothers, was a resounding success.
"Initially, we got some students with behavioural issues, and in speaking with the guidance counsellors, they told us of the gravity and the magnitude of the problem they have been having, and so we asked them to send the students in," said Cunningham. "We counselled parents and students. They said they were getting positive results, so because of that, there was a kind of an influx."
"This is more of a pilot programme, but we want to take it to all the high schools," Cunningham added.