Within the next few weeks, Barbadians will be asked to identify the most vulnerable families in their communities to the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs as that ministry finalises an upcoming social programme, targeted at 1 000 families.
This indication has come from Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey, who told media personnel on Wednesday that the Government was currently in the process of gathering all of the necessary data before the launch of the programme, likely to take place in another two months.
“The fact is that the ministry already has a lot of information through our various departments, be it Welfare, the National Disabilities Unit, the National Assistance Board and so on, so we have a very solid database. We also had amplified that database where we were looking at it in relation to disasters and who was most vulnerable.
“In the next few weeks you are going to see a public call for persons to come forward and identify persons who live in their communities that they believe are also vulnerable. We imagine that will hopefully throw up some new names, although we expect a lot of those people to already be in our database,” he said.
The minister revealed that two distinct forms will be made available to assist in the data collection process.
“We have two forms; one is called the Eligibility Square Sheet where you are evaluated scientifically based on the state of your conditions really, the housing, is anyone working, the level of education in the household, the health in the household and so on. The other form is what we call the Universal Intake Form, which is a [more] condensed form which helps us to make a much more rapid determination.”
The ministry also plans to utilise the services of young social workers during the course of the programme, with the aim of having at least one social worker to every 15 of the selected impoverished families.
“We also started looking at young social workers because for the programme to be effective, we need to have about one social worker to 10 to 15 families… If you assume that a family has eight persons, that is one social worker to 80 persons. Welfare for example, one social worker is working over 400 persons, so you can see the difference in terms of the capacity to be able to better serve that family.
The Government-led initiative was announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley back in June. She said it would match Barbadians with families in need of help.
In addition those enrolled in the programme would benefit from a comprehensive programme of assistance including housing and educational opportunities
Humphrey said: “The ministry responsible for Housing has already allocated five per cent of their new houses to us and another ten per cent to persons with disabilities, so that will allow us to have first pick for a lot of our clients. The Ministry of Education has also been mandated to support us, to give education access to our clients and as well the Ministry of Health, because we have a programme running now for 250 persons but a lot of that was paid healthcare. In this [new] programme the government will make sure those people are prioritised for their healthcare.”