The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC) launched a new Kids Helpline pilot programme on 22 November, 2018, at the CICC’s Walk-in Centre, Estella’s Place.
The Kids Helpline will provide children and young adults up to 18 years old with a resource outside of their immediate circle of family and/or friends to contact for support on issues concerning their wellbeing.
The helpline is one of the first of its kind in the Caribbean British Overseas Territories and its development was supported by the UK’s National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (NCA CEOP) as part of a wider programme of support coordinated by the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) through the Governor’s Office.
His Excellency The Governor, Martyn Roper, was in attendance for the grand opening of the Kids Helpline.
“I was honoured to be part of the launch of this service for Cayman’s youth. The UK’s National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (NCA CEOP) has been working directly with the Crisis Centre for some time to lay the foundations and get the pilot programme up and running,” Mr. Roper said. “I am pleased to see all the hard work from all parties coming together to provide this service which will help to safeguard those who may be in a dangerous situation or just need someone to talk to. The Cayman Islands continue to set the standard for others in the region. Congratulations to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre for this latest initiative.”
Ania Milanowska, Executive Director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, said the new initiative is much needed in Cayman.
“The Kids Helpline will be available across all three islands as we will be offering a free-to-call phone line initially, with plans to expand online” she said. “We are very grateful for the invaluable support we have received from the NCA CEOP to develop this much needed service for our children and youth.”
NCA CEOP and Child Helpline International joined hands to develop a Needs Assessment Study (NAS) for the creation and implementation of a child helpline in the Cayman Islands.
Sarah Murphy, Senior Officer at NCA CEOP has been working with the CICC for the past year under a wider FCO programme of child safeguarding support to the Cayman Islands to train, plan and launch this new service.
“We are delighted to have been able to work collaboratively with CICC and our partners to deliver this service for children in Cayman,” Ms. Murphy said, explaining that the development of the Kids Helpline is a result of several months’ work in the Cayman Islands as part of a much wider programme of support across partner and public services.
“Multi-agency collaboration approaches to protecting children are so important whether at international or local level,” Ms. Murphy said. “We have worked with our colleagues in Cayman including CICC, Department of Education, RCIPS, 911, DCFS and other not-for-profit organisations.”
The Kids Helpline pilot programme will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:00-6:00pm and will be free to call at 649-KIDS (5437). CICC plans to continue to expand the hours of the phone line into 2019.
About the Kids Helpline:
• Safeguard and protecting the rights of a child
• Free to call phone line – 649-KIDS (5437)
• Professionally trained staff and volunteers
• Provides support to the child until he/she is in a safe situation
• Service available throughout all three islands
• Any child or young adult up to 18 years old can contact the help line