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Minister overstated troubled youth on scheme

Correction required: Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin

Legislators were given a “highly overstated” number of troubled youth that had been served under a now-defunct government programme, according to Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs.

The High Risk Programme, eliminated after five years of operation by the Department of Child and Family Services, did not serve 447 children, but rather a maximum of 32, the minister said.

Junior minister Nandi Outerbridge had mistakenly given the House of Assembly an aggregate figure when the shelving of the programme was announced last month, without recognising that many clients were the same year over year.

The programme was created to offer counselling to families affected by violence, and was broadened to address antisocial behaviour and gang problems.

Its elimination prompted an outcry from the Opposition, although Ms Outerbridge said treatment was still available through Bermuda Youth Counselling Services — and that families who feared that their children would slip back into dangerous behaviour should contact the minister directly with their concerns.