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October 12, 2022

SVP facility for children living with HIV/AIDS gets new name

The institution called the Cyril Ross Nursery at El Dorado Road, Tunapuna underwent a name change November 2020 to the Cyril Ross Children’s Home.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul Trinidad and Tobago (SVPTT), which manages the facility, is seeking to license the facility under the Children’s Authority in accordance with Section 3 of the Children’s Community Residences, Foster Care and Nurseries Act.

The SVPTT Annual General Meeting 2019 booklet stated, “This license will allow the Society to continue its work with children living with HIV/AIDS. The Authority gave the Society an original deadline of November 2020 to achieve a list of requisite tasks and documents prior to receiving the official license to operate…” The report was presented at the SVPTT’s Annual General Meeting at the Holy Faith Convent, Couva on October 2.

The Home was required to have a compliance certificate from the T&T Fire Service and medical certificate from the Country St George East. Submissions had to be in order by December 2022 to continue operations.

The report said with the use of anti-retroviral drugs, residents have longer lifespans, so the scope and work of the facility has mushroomed. “Our children live longer than the estimated lifespan of six years and are becoming young adults that would integrate in Society. In this regard, the term ‘Nursery’ should be changed to reflect the target group at the facility. In this regard at a meeting of the National Executive on November 4th, 2020, the name ‘Cyril Ross Children’s Home’ was proffered.”

In order for an official name change to occur, approval was received by members of the National Council (Particular Council Presidents and Conference Presidents) by Friday, November 27, 2020.

The name change is expected to be beneficial as the needs of all children inclusive of adolescents 18 years and younger are addressed. The Strategic Plan for the facility will reflect this.

Following “lengthy discussions” with a team from the National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), technical assistance was given to the SVPTT to prepare its operating budget for the Home, Strategic Plan 2022–2025, Resource Mobilisation Plan (RMP) and Transitional Facility Plan. “…subsequent to much discussion and dialogue with NACC-OPM’s Core Team and our representatives, a detailed operating budget with budgetary figures for February 2022 to September 2022 and projected

Income and Expenditure for October 1, 2022, to September 2023, were submitted on May 9, 2022, for consideration and approval received by Office of Prime Minister.”

The Society requested additional personnel—a full-time social worker and accounting assistant, to meet the required standards for the operations of children’s homes.

The OPM was also asked to provide “additional assistance” to meet the net monthly salaries of staff to ensure timely payment “for the remainder of fiscal 2021–2022 as outlined in the Budgetary Projections for fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2023”. Help was requested for the roll-out of the Psychosocial Counselling Transition Programme.

On October 3, SVPTT had talks with OPM officials. One of the issues discussed was the OPM paying the salaries for staff at Cyril Ross; the SVPTT Secretariat will have to submit reports for accountability. The need for social workers and case workers was raised.

Talks will continue on a stepdown transitional facility to temporarily house children after the age of 18.