Some 320 children in Darliston, Westmoreland, received complimentary school supplies and medical checks during the Child Protection and Family Services Agency’s (CPFSA) annual Western Region Back to School Treat and Health Fair, on Friday (August 23).
The event, which was held at Holly Hill Infant and Primary School in Darliston, catered to 200 youngsters from the institution and community, and 120 children on Supervision Orders as also from the CPFSA’s Family Reintegration Programme.
They received backpacks filled with stationery and clothing, and were treated to amusement rides, games, and snacks, among other goodies.
The health services provided included routine school medicals, and blood sugar and pressure checks.
In addition, eye screenings were administered by the Lion’s Club of Westmoreland, while doctors visiting from the United States provided chiropractic services.
Several stakeholder partners, including the Ministries of Health and Wellness, and Labour and Social Security, and Peace Management Initiative (PMI), made presentations to the children and their families throughout the day.
The event also served as an outreach initiative to heighten awareness about CPFSA service delivery across the agency’s Western Region, comprising the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and Trelawny.
Chief Executive Officer, Rosalee Gage-Grey, told JIS News that the event enables the Agency to become more familiar with schools and families in the Region.
“It is one way for us to know the schools, the principals and the guidance counselors because, during the course of the year when our officers have to do interventions and investigations, these are the persons they [liaise with],” she explained.
Mrs. Gage-Grey further stated that “we work very closely with the Ministry of Education, [Youth and Information], which is our parent Ministry, and the [CPFSA’s] Regional Directors to ensure that the school year is very good for the children”.
“So, it is a good collaborative effort. It works well and it shares the resources right across Government,” she added.
Principal of Holly Hill Infant and Primary School, Seyon Gardiner, said the initiative is indicative of the priority which the CPFSA places on health and education.
Parent, Shanoya Wallace, told JIS News that the event was important as it assisted in significantly offsetting expenses associated with school preparations for parents not having the resources for this undertaking.
She urged the CPFSA to continue staging the annual treat, in order to assist in alleviating some of the financial challenges parents encounter ahead of the start of each academic year.