At-risk and vulnerable children and young people have a new resource as of Thursday (22 November.)
The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre’s Kids’ Helpline is now officially open and the Governor was on hand to mark the launch.
A $20,000 donation from the UK and 16 months of planning and the Kids Helpline was officially a-go.
H.E. Governor Martyn Roper was among those who came to celebrate the launch on Thursday (22 November.)
He had first announced the scheme in his swearing-in ceremony. He praised the pioneering programme.
“As one of the first helplines in the Overseas Territories, the Cayman Islands continues to set the standard and I’ve been impressed in my first weeks here how often the Cayman Islands is a beacon in the region for initiatives like this,” the Governor said.
The project was born out of a collaboration with the UK’s National Crime Agency.
‘”It was really apparent there was a gap in services around people being able to pick up the phone and have someone to talk to. So working together with the Crisis Centre, we have developed the processes and pathways for the implementation of a Childline,” Sarah Murphy from the NCA explained.
The Crisis Centre’s Executive Director Ana Milanowska detailed the issues they expect to face from young callers:
“Safeguarding issues are, thank goodness, very low in comparison to other issues. It’s mostly bullying right now and relationship issues, maybe substance abuse issues. We are here, kids can call us,” Ms. Milanowska said.
For the Crisis Centre, this pilot scheme is just the beginning.
“We are hoping in 2019 to expand the hours and eventually become a 24/7 service, just like our 24-hour crisis line for victims of domestic violence, but baby steps,” Ms. Milanowska added.
You can contact the Kids’ Helpline on 649-KIDS (5437).
The helpline is free to call and conversations are private. It is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.