The Ministry of Social Transformation seeks to inform the public about updated social programs

By Orville Williams

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Following several significant adjustments to the country’s Social Welfare Act (2020), the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and Blue Economy is seeking to raise awareness among members of the public – especially those who have it. need – to a number of updated social protection programs. .

As its title suggests, the Welfare Act replaced the longstanding Poor Relief Act (1961) in September last year and now supports the less fortunate with food aid/ vouchers, funeral grants, a grant for fire victims, assistance for the homeless, home help for the elderly, and support for children, the disabled and the indigent.

The ministry announced these components in a press release yesterday, adding that “more are yet to come”, via funding from the United Nations International Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and major support from the government.

According to the Minister responsible for implementation, Dean Jonas, “changes to the law have been made to protect the vulnerable and indigent, [so] it is very important that our society understands and appreciates the necessary protection”.

These programs, according to the Ministry of Social Transformation, differ from those run under the old Poor Relief Act, which “focused primarily on individuals, with minimal investment in contributory schemes and providing assistance limited social assistance, such as the distribution of cash to the most deprived people”. to meet their basic needs. »

He insists that “vulnerability is much more than lack of money” and says the current law “represents what social protection policies and programs should be, an inclusive approach where everyone is covered and where everyone prospers”.

Alongside the programs, the ministry recalled that the creation of the Social Welfare Council and a Social Welfare Commission – to provide essential oversight and promote transparency – is another new component of the law, in line with the modernization of the social protection system.

The two bodies will be responsible for coordinating the operation of multi-sectoral social protection systems, covering non-contributory and contributory programs, labor market planning, poverty reduction and planning for the eventual extension of the social protection programme.