Officials within the field of Juvenile Justice recently came together to discuss ways of strengthening their networks to improve children’s security and welfare.
The half-day workshop entitled ‘Strengthening Relationships within Criminal Justice’ was organized by the Probation & Child Protection Services (PCPS) Department and held at the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Centre on Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, with the aim of building better working relationships between PCPS and its partners in the field, so that all units could work collectively on children’s protection.
Director of Probation & Child Protection Services, Mr. Gerald Connor, explained that the Department had previously researched programmes that could enhance the working relationship between the Police and Probation Departments, and to that end, contact was made with Boston-based Chief Probation Officer, Mr. Bernard Fitzergerald, who happily indicated that he had been visiting St. Kitts for the last eighteen years, and would be willing to conduct the training during one of his visits.
Mr. Connor continued, “A programme was created under Mr. Fitzgerald’s leadership called ‘Operation Nightlight’, which included Police Officers and Probation Officers working together at evenings, going into different areas…enforcing curfews and doing home visits together, to prevent juveniles from being on the street”. During the workshop, with discussions led by Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Connor, participants explored incorporating elements of that programme into local practices, as well as different ways of building a stronger child protection network overall.
The training was attended by twenty-five juvenile justice professionals, including officials of the Police Force, Defence Force, and the Departments of Probation & Child Protection Services and Gender Affairs.
Noting that the discussions were well received, Mr. Connor said, “The training was helpful as the information in terms of child protection and the Child Care & Adoption Act- and the way that we all fit into it- was new to some persons”.
He indicated that the Department planned to broaden the training to junior staff of the same Units, as well as host more training sessions on different aspects of Juvenile Justice and Child Protection in the near future.
End of Release March 21st, 2022