With the support of the United States Government, over 30 social service providers from across the region are currently participating in a training exercise in Barbados from February 11-15 on Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART). ART equips at-risk youth with coping skills to manage aggressive impulses that can precede violent behavior. This is a key component of a larger effort to foster restorative and rehabilitative approaches to child justice in the region, and promote alternative pathways for youth who come into contact with the law.
The training falls under the aegis of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) project, implemented in partnership with the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It is geared toward persons who work with children in contact with the law and their families, including: child protection, welfare, probation, and rehabilitation officers. ART will be used to work with high-risk youth in rehabilitation facilities, schools, and communities.
Mission Director for USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Christopher Cushing, who was on hand to observe the training, said emphasis was placed on sustainability. “One of the things I would like to highlight is that we are working closely with the OECS and UNICEF, here in Barbados, because we think it is important that we have local experts in the region who are able to carry this type of training forward. Perhaps even more importantly, we are training a cadre of trainers who would be able to facilitate this training here in Barbados and throughout the OECS so it will be a legacy that endures.”
A similar exercise is scheduled next week in St. Lucia on February 18 – 22, for officers from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as the OECS overseas territories of Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. Twenty-five participants will be trained as group facilitators, and six as trainers in both sessions.