Hedge Fund Care helps Crisis Centre help children

| 20/07/2010

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre’s Children and Youth Programme has helped 25 children since its inception in August 2009 and has since been expanded to incorporate youths up to the age of sixteen. With the help of grants from the Cayman Chapter of Hedge Funds Care (HFC), the programme focuses on the safety and well-being of children and youths who accompany their mothers to the centre as a result of domestic abuse.

CICC, who were awarded $35,000 in May 2010, were among six grantees to receive funding to assist with their ongoing efforts to eradicate and treat child abuse in the Cayman Islands. This was a renewal grant for the centre, having received circa $46,000 in 2008.

Charmaine Bush-Miller, Children and Youth Programme Case Manager said “In part the funding has been used to create and support my post which works directly with the children who accompany their mothers to the Centre. Prior to creating the Children and Youth Programme, 100% of our efforts were focused on the mothers. Children, who live in homes where domestic abuse occurs, more than likely have witnessed their father hurting their mother or have heard the loud angry voices and fearful screams that accompanies abuse. As a result, when the children come to shelter they are often confused, angry, and, or frightened. Now with the Children and Youth Programme there is a staff member designated and trained to work directly with the children to help them understand why they are at the Centre and teach them to deal with their feelings surrounding the abuse.”

The HFC grant also supports the CICC After Care Programme. Under thedirection of long-time staff member Lorna Medina, the After Care Programme provides follow-up and assistance for women and their children when they leave the safe shelter. Shortly after the inception of the Crisis Centre, Ms. Medina, a native and long time resident of the Cayman Islands began working on a voluntary basis with the women after they left the shelter. Through HFC funding the After Care Programme became an official and much needed component of CICC.

Charmaine who has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology has been employed since July 2009. She applied for the position following an internship at the centre during the summer of 2004. The internship served to fulfil a course requirement as a graduate in psychology from Ave Maria University – Latin American Campus, located in Nicaragua. During this time, Charmaine worked side by side with the outreach coordinator to increase awareness of child sexual abuse in the Cayman Islands.

During their stay, the programme offers children and youths assistance to counter anxiety, self blame and identification and address of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms; individual and group sessions geared towards enhancing self esteem and safety; support groups to facilitate effective communication skills, healthy coping mechanisms, self awareness and conflict resolution; family support groups to enhance parent child interaction; academic assistance; referral services for children battling with anger management, child sexual abuse and other identified problems which impede a child’s normal developmental process; information to parents on parenting skills, prevention of child sexual abuse and the effects of domestic violence on children.

Additionally, the programme offers support in helping children deal with the challenges that face them academically and changing learned behaviour copied from what they see. It also provides support to parents who often have to adjust to having a lack of funds due to the abuser or them leaving the marital home. Costs surprisingly include bilingual materials as English is not the first language of the majority of clients.

The crisis centre is open to all victims who have made contact via phone, who do not have a child over 16 years of age or any pets that they would need to bring with them. The length of their stay varies but is up to a maximum of six months.

The current staff discipline is six full-time staff that cover a 24 hour shift pattern and operate a 24-hour crisis helpline.

Charmaine added, “The most rewarding part of my role is the positive outcome we see when intervening to break a pattern of unhealthy behaviour, which most of the time stems from witnessing domestic violence. The changing process is satisfying because we are able to distinguish between a child who initially enters the shelter with mixed emotions, questioning their self value and demonstrating much aggression towards their peers and relatives, to a child expressing eagerness to participate in group sessions, articulating their wants and needs assertively and improving their self as a whole. The physical ailments of domestic violence are always eye opening and making the smallest difference is hugely rewarding.”

Looking forward the CICC has a very ambitious development programme for their clients. They are looking for donations to assist with the expansion of their children’s playroom and to pave and landscape their front garden area.

For more information on how you can contribute to HFC, contact Claire Lloyd-Hickey at claire.lloyd-hickey@ogier.com

Hedge fund industry professionals established Hedge Funds Care (HFC), a charitable organisation focused on assisting young victims of abuse in 1998. Since that time, chapters have opened in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Toronto, Cayman and London. The targeted groups for the organisation include those organisations with interests inhedge funds, including investment managers, investors, prime brokers, attorneys, accountants, administrators and information providers. Since its inception, Hedge Funds Care has distributed over $21 million through more than 600 grants.

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