Twenty boys with special needs, under the care of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) are now benefitting from a sensory room, which was officially opened at the Muirton Boys’ Home in Portland on Friday, November 3, 2023.
The room which will help to stimulate learning and offer comfort and calm, will also assist in improving the cognitive abilities and behavioural and emotional well-being of the wards, who have been diagnosed with disabilities such as downs syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.
The room was equipped with sensory equipment under the ICT Expansion and Modernisation Project being executed by the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU) at the CPFSA as part of the public sector transformation programme.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Hon. Marsha Smith speaking at the opening of the room, expressed gratitude for the partnership that has allowed for the realisation of the room, stating that “a nation is often judged by how well it caters for vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. I am pleased to know that across targeted state care facilities, we are providing spaces equipped with sensory equipment to ensure that children with special needs are stimulated in a way that facilitates their personal development [ensuring] no child is left behind.”
“Through this ICT expansion and modernisation project we are using the technology to definitely work smarter and improve the delivery of public services,” the Minister added.
In the meantime, Executive Director at the TIU, Ms Maria Thompson Walters also speaking at the opening, highlighted that under the project the CPFSA has received 173 desktop computers; 56 laptops and 35 tablets for use within the CPFSA’s offices, resource centres and in the field. Additionally, they have received 11 multifunctional printers for use in the offices. Ninety two tablets were also issued to students who performed well in their PEP and CSEC exams; and 500 laptops were provided to children across the residential facilities during the pandemic to assist with online learning.
A mobile mental health unit was also provided to assist with the mental health of the wards, along with 100 psychological tools. Under the project, there was also a roll-out of the pilot of a behaviour modification programme.
The Children’s Registry has also now been fully integrated into the CPFSA’s Child Case Management System.
The project is being implemented at a cost of US$1.6 million through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank.