Additional funds for health care and the transfer of the responsibility for the after-school activities of Child Focus to the public entity Saba were two of the pledges that Dutch State Secretary of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Paul Blokhuis made during his visit to Saba late June.
In a meeting with Saba’s Executive Council on June 25, it was agreed that a serious effort would be made to further strengthen Saba’s society and the local government through investments in health care and the social domain, Blokhuis stated in a recent letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.
He was happy to note that Saba had clearly indicated where it needed additional funds to carry out its tasks in the area of public health. “This means that Saba gets an additional US $76,000 this year and next year, so $152,000 in total, for public health. These means can be used for, among other things, activities in the area of prevention,” he stated. There will also be more support to prevent teenage pregnancies and to assist young mothers.
Blokhuis commended Saba for making substantial investments in the social domain, which included the establishing of the new Social Development Unit. “I consider this a positive development to which I gladly contribute.”
It was agreed with the Executive Council that Saba will increase its efforts in the coming two years to prevent children and vulnerable families from getting into trouble because help is reaching them too late.
According to Blokhuis, early detection and looking for a solution together is the motto in this. Saba will receive $125,000 annually for the coming two years to hire two additional employees for preventive youth care. “It is my intention to continue this pilot after two years if things are going well.”
He announced his plans to transfer the responsibility for after-school activities of Child Focus and the associated funds to the public entity Saba. He said the local government and Child Focus are engaged in talks to arrive at an agreement. It was further agreed with the Executive Council that the island government and the Centre for Youth Care and Guardianship Caribbean Netherlands JGCN, which takes care of the more specialised youth tasks in Saba, will keep working together to ensure that every child in Saba gets the care he or she deserves and that nobody is lost in the system.
The Daily Herald.