The situation of three children being left to fend for themselves did not only alarm the public but also elicited a response from Minister for Health, and Social Development Hon. Ronnie Skelton and remarks from President of the Family Support Network (FSN), Ms Judith Charles.
The story about the three children was first mentioned in a local media article and resulted in enquiries and support for the children. BVI News Online, in two articles last week, reported about the plight of the two girls and their brother whose father from another Caribbean island left them alone in a rented East End apartment since December last year. “Their mother, a BVI native, did not live with them due to what is said to be certain circumstances. The hildren are 12, 14 and 15 years old”, BVI News Online stated.
In response to the public support, FSN President, Charles issued a thank you via social media to the people in the community who supported. In a Facebook statement, the FSN President said: “Thanks to those who responded to the article that was in the news about the three kids that were living by themselves. Your donations were helpful and appreciated. Please continue to support. Thanks!”
Minister Skelton in his media statement on Friday announced that he was made aware of the plight of the three teenagers that were discovered to be living without direct parental supervision in the Long Look community, and was very troubled by the turn of events.
He added: “The Social Development Department has been actively assisting this family since the matter was first reported and had taken steps to make sure their immediate needs were being addressed.”
The Minister further explained that he asked for a full investigation of the matter and said that actions continue to be taken to further assist the family. “I assure you of my commitment and that of the Government of the Virgin Islands to try and close all gaps in our social services delivery across the various sectors and agencies involved in looking after the welfare of our children. Our goal is to prevent the occurrence, and respond more effectively to these unfortunate situations. As a community, we must play a greater role in keeping our children safe.”
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank those in the community who were concerned and tried to assist. I encourage all interested individuals and families to contact the Social Development Department to find out how you can become a foster care provider, or give some other practical demonstration of your commitment to the care and protection of our children,” Hon. Skelton added.