Categorized | National News

Uniform Assistance Programme Still Operational

The uniform assistance programme offered by the Ministry of Social Services is “fully operational” and parents have already been in at the various offices to collect vouchers, according to the minister.

Melanie Griffin told the Bahama Journal recently that despite several rumours, the programme is still in place to assist parents with preparing children for the opening of school in a few weeks.

“The uniform assistance programme is very much still in place,” she said.

“The early birds have already been in. We want to encourage everyone who needs uniform assistance for their children for school to come in as soon as possible. What we have done is put in place a new system that we think will make the process timelier and simpler.”

Mrs. Griffin said in the past there have been several problems that arose from the distribution of the uniform vouchers.

“Instead of the social workers having to go out and get quotes from the various uniform shops, we will be giving out vouchers for a certain amount and the parents themselves will be able to go to the vendors and pick out the uniforms,” she said.

“We think that this will make the process more user-friendly.”

The social services minister also explained that there are checks and balances in place to ensure that parents do not abuse the assistance programme.

“For every assistance programme at Social Services, there is the assessment process and everyone has to go through that process,” Mrs. Griffin said.

“Once that process is completed then people can get their vouchers and go to the various vendors. We met with all the vendors and they know exactly what is expected of them and just exactly what to look out for. They know what to look for on the vouchers, in case of fraud, and the vouchers can only be used to purchase specific items. Once parents turn in the vouchers to the vendors, the vendors will make a note and then the ministry will ensure that they get paid.”

Mrs. Griffin said the government remains committed to assisting Bahamians who are unemployed or simply can not afford to properly prepare their children for school.

She also explained that very soon the government will increase the allocation to the uniform assistance programme and other programmes the ministry has to offer to help Bahamians who are struggling.

The Department of Social Services recorded an expenditure of $338,207 in 2011 on its uniform assistance programme.

In Nassau alone, 2,770 children received uniforms from the government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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