(CMR) Hon. André Ebanks, Minister for Investment, Innovation and Social Development said his Ministry is undertaking an expansion of the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU) and Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to transform services for their clients in Cayman Brac.
The minister was speaking during a visit to Cayman Brac last Friday 8, July. He was accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Heather Bodden and senior Ministry staff on the visit which included a stop at the existing shared office space for both the NAU and DCFS.
At the District Administration building, the group met with the Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Minister for District Administration, District Commissioner Mark Tibbetts, and staff of the District Commission. The two Ministers and Commissioner led a discussion about ongoing and new policy issues relating to social development, with a particular focus on the needs of elderly and vulnerable people in Cayman Brac.
Related to the expansion of the NAU and DCFS, the trip also included two separate site visits; the first was to a potential new location for the Needs Assessment Unit. The second site visit was facilitated by Minister O’Connor-Connolly and District Commission staff, who gave a tour to the Minister, Parliamentary Secretary and Ministry staff of a newly constructed, modern building that has been designed to accommodate community events in Cayman Brac, particularly for older persons and youth.
Minister Ebanks expressed his gratitude to all involved with the visit, saying: “To re-imagine social development for the people of the Cayman Islands requires purposeful and creative actions that involve collaboration across distinct subject areas and across Government, with the private and non-profit sectors, and throughout our community.”
“Our visit to Cayman Brac this past Friday is an earnest start to a strong working relationship between the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, the District Commission, and the Cayman Brac offices of the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Needs Assessment Unit,” Parliamentary Secretary Heather Bodden added.
The group also visited the nursing staff and residents at Kirkconnell Care Centre. The Minister noted that in the Government’s 2022-23 Annual Budget Statement, the nursing staff was converted from wage-based to salaried employees, including many who served for two or three decades in these positions. Commenting on his interactions at the Centre, he said:
“The dedicated staff of the Kirkconnell Care Centre, and their counterparts in all the care homes in Grand Cayman, work tirelessly to care for the residents – often with little recognition for the truly grueling work involved in this profession. The Ministry will continue to advocate for change and reform on behalf of the residents and staff.”