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Social Services Ministry Motivates Social Workers In Grand Bahama

Motivating social workers is the first step in fighting the increase in poverty was the message from Social Services and Community Development Minister Melanie Griffin gave as she encouraged the Department of Social Services to continue assisting the most needy in The Bahamas while balancing changes in their personal lives.

Minister Griffin visited the Department of Social Services in Grand Bahama to address the needs of social workers who provide assistance to vulnerable women and teenagers in need of government protection against exposure to abuse and neglect resulting from poverty and general social decay.

“There is a motivational seminar going on for the Department of Social Services here in Grand Bahama. About a week ago, we had one in New Providence. Today, in Grand Bahama the theme was ‘Realizing Our Full Potential.’ We think in Social Services, we all know the type of challenges they have every day. They give of themselves; they give of their heart; they give of their soul. We thought to give back to them and administer to them. I believe that social work is a noble ministry and they do it with great sacrifice to themselves,” said Minister Griffin.

“The ministry is facing some challenges, many challenges, particularly in light of the ongoing recession or recession-like conditions that still exist in the country. As we try to recover, you know that we are definitely confident that God is always with us, guiding the government, as a country, as a nation, and I believe that He will bring us through. So that is the message we bring to the social workers here – the people of our country that the Bible says ‘Wait on the Lord’ and he will renew your strength and give you good courage and certainly that is what it is all about. The challenges are many but we are not afraid of challenges,” said Minister Griffin.

“We have seen an increase in persons seeking social services, particularly in the area of food assistance, and we expect that (in) the coming mid-term year budget statement that we will be able to explain to the Bahamian public that we will require more resources definitely. Particularly in the areas of food and housing – those are the two areas hitting us very hard at this time. I have been able to meet the needs that have been coming forward as best we can. Yes we have (met some needs), but I can tell you we need more resources.”

On February 15, the Ministry of Social Services & Community Development and the Department of Social Services held a Motivational Seminar under the theme “Realizing Your Full Potential” in the Conference Room of the National Insurance Office Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Social Services Director Mavis Darling Hill delivered remarks promoting forgiveness and sensitivity toward our fellow women dealing with family crisis.

Her remarks were in support of Minister Griffin’s leadership in both Grand Bahama, New Providence and throughout the archipelagic island nation.

“For food, we know it might be in the region of about $4 Million. So food is a very critical area for us right now. We are having a lot of problems with homelessness right now. (As for) persons who have been evicted from apartments, it’s a very critical area for us. Things are tight, but we have confidence in the government. We have confidence in the fiscal prudence in our prime minister and our minister of state for finance and we believe that as we move forward, we will all see the plans that are put in place to guide us through the economic times,” said Minister Griffin.

Minister Griffin was confident that there is light on the horizon as the government is working on social safety net reform, a program designed to break the cycle of poverty in our country.

She said it is designed to put Bahamians in a position to be able to assist themselves better during difficult economic times, as the ministry has added a social services unit in Urban Renewal that will work closely with the Environment and Housing Ministry.

Minister Griffin said the government is concerned about projecting the image that they are Nassau-centric, so they are reaching out to solve social issues in the Family Islands as well, including emergency unemployment programs to assist Bahamians from economic hardship due to unexpected joblessness.

“The government in its Charter for Governance foreshadowed that it will have an emergency unemployment programme. It is one that has already kicked in place and you will be hearing more about it as we move forward,” said Minister Griffin.

Social Services Deputy Director Mavis Darling Hill also commended the social workers for their selfless efforts in caring for those in crisis.

“We are here to say, work hard, do well, and enjoy it. When there are cases that you need to discuss with your supervisors or even a colleague, do it, listen to them, but that doesn’t mean you are going to do exactly what they say, that’s where social work is so important. You get a concerted feedback from everyone and you can decide how you go about the case based on your information at hand,” Mavis Darling Hill, Director of Social Services.

“And what is important too, is when you are feeling stressed out and you feel that you need a break, then you need to know when to take that break. That’s the only way you are going to be able to refresh yourself and come back another day and do what you are supposed to do. And so that’s what we are encouraging that you do.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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