GLEANER: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is working with state agencies to ensure that unattached or at-risk youth in the Mount Salem community of St James are reintegrated into the education or skills-training system.
Director of School Safety and Security in the ministry Assistant Superintendent of Police Coleridge Minto said a detailed assessment of the needs of the unattached or at-risk youth in Mount Salem is being done.
Speaking during the zone of special operations (ZOSO) community services fair in Mount Salem, on Saturday, Minto said agencies such as HEART Trust/NTA and the Social Development Commission (SDC) would be playing a major role in the push to get these youth back into the formal system.
"We are currently doing an assessment to ascertain the number of youth who are deemed unattached or at risk, and once we have that information relating to their education and skills-training needs, we will get them back into the formal system very quickly," he noted.
"We are also working with a number of schools and training institutions so that the reintegration process is seamless. We will ensure that we get a certain level of commitment from the participants that their participation in the formal process is sustained and long term," Minto said.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT PROGRAMME
Region Four director in the ministry, Dr Michelle Pinnock, has expressed optimism that the reintegration programme will be a success.
"We have been observing the youth from the community and they are seeking opportunities for further education, and in most instances, training. This programme is being supported by a number of state agencies, and once we receive the necessary data, getting these youth back into school or into a formal training programme will be done almost immediately," Pinnock said.
She added that it is important for the residents to support and participate in the social services being offered under the ZOSO, especially in obtaining a valid identification card.
Hundreds of residents from Mount Salem turned out for the two-day social services fair, held at the Mount Salem Primary School.
The fair formed part of the social-intervention programme for the Mount Salem community which, on September 1, was declared the first ZOSO under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act. The ZOSO will be in place for 60 days.