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Friday, August 19, 2022
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Children and Families Council Launches Website

The governor’s Children and Families Council has launched an informational website with general information about the council, its work and information on resources and services available to young people and families, according to Government House. The council is chaired by V.I. first lady Cecile deJongh.

Gov. John deJongh Jr. said he kept up to date with the council’s efforts and "the launching of this website provides the outreach we need to our young people and families in the territory so that they are aware of the resources available to them."

The new website address is www.cfcusvi.com.

At the most recent council meeting, Sept. 18, Ellie Hirsch, who chairs the Early Childhood Advisory Council, reported that a federal government grant to carry out the objectives of the council ended during the summer but the group focused heavily on training a select few early childcare providers who will in turn train other similar service providers.

“The objective is to improve the quality of care and ensure that all children entering school will be ready to succeed,” Hirsch said. Hirsch also shared a copy of the early childhood strategic report, which will be made available to policymakers and educators and accessible on the council’s website.

Scott Bradley, who leads the council’s Youth Development Group, reported the group is working with other agencies to create a "community-based youth empowerment program." Specially developed teams will be working in the community with at-risk groups, including high-risk, risk-impacted, detached and gang-involved youth.

Bradley said the program is based on a best practices program first conceived by Catholic Charities in California. This program will focus on helping youth with a broad range of issues such as life skills and planning, self-esteem, anger management, conflict resolution, health and wellness.

In conjunction with Project Safe Neighborhood, "the group is developing and will implement a community resource line. It is a referral system that links youth and families to programs and agencies," Bradley said.

Acting Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory said progress is being made with the V.I. Virtual Information System, which was launched in August.

Frett-Gregory also talked about the adaptation of Common Core Standards in the public schools for the new school year. “The standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn,” she said.

“The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to what students will face in the world of higher education and the working world once they have left high school. It focuses on real world challenges, reflects on the knowledge and skills set needed for college and careers,” Frett-Gregory said.

The U.S. Virgin Islands adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010 and is now in the process of implementing those standards at the classroom level. The standards are developed for English, language arts and math.

The next meeting of the Children and Families Council will be held in December at Government House on St. Thomas.

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