Basseterre, St. Kitts: The Department of Probation & Child Protection Services hosted a two-day informational workshop at the Ocean Terrance Inn on October 7th and 8th, 2013. The objective of this workshop was to facilitate information sharing among the stakeholders of the Juvenile Justice System regarding the newly introduced diversion program, STEP UP. The reality of this diversion program has been made possible through the collaborative efforts by USAID, OECS and the Government of St.Kitts-Nevis through the Juvenile Justice Reform Project that is currently being undertaken in all the OECS countries.
The Department, in its efforts of curbing the juvenile delinquency phenomenon has been designing several programs that will help to alleviate this problem, hence the introduction of STEP UP. This diversion program will help to divert youth from the formal processing of the juvenile justice system through a more informal sentencing program that will provide second chances. STEP UP will have three major components including: Hydroponics, Music and Videography. Moreover, the Department believes in dealing with the root causes of delinquency hence there are several other supporting components that will work hand in hand with the aforementioned, they include: Counseling, Life Skills training, Business development training, Mentorship Programs and Parenting Programs.
Presentations at the informative workshop were made from the Magistrate’s Court, Counseling Department, The Department of Probation and several other stakeholders also highlighted pertinent topics that will assist each group in carrying out their duties.
STEP UP will help to provide a holistic approach at positively impacting the lives of the youth of our Federation thus reducing juvenile delinquency. And as we embark on this new approach, we do so with optimism.