New names for Welfare, Assistance Board
The National Assistance Board (NAB) and the Welfare Department are to be renamed in an effort to change the “ethos, the work environment and the work approach” in both agencies, said Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett.
Blackett, who said the name changes were part of a revamping exercise, was speaking after the launch of International Men’s Day at Baobab Towers, Warrens, St Michael.
The new name of the NAB will be the Commission of Elder Affairs, while the Welfare Department will be changed to the Department of Social Services.
“That is to remove some of the stigma especially from the Welfare Department and to make it more customer friendly and to make people feel better about themselves when they present to the Welfare Department especially,” said Blackett. Job titles will also be changed.
In the case of the NAB, the change is intended to give clearer definition and scope to that agency, which will be “principally in the vanguard” of implementing the recently instituted National Policy On Ageing.
No cuts to services
Blackett said there were several operational features of the policy that needed to be implemented by an agency and though the NAB had been in the forefront of care and welfare of the aged, it did not have a “legislative agenda” to do such.
“This legislation will for the first time give them that kind of mandate,” he said.
Asked about his ministry’s ability to continue to fund the two agencies, Blackett said despite Barbados’ current difficult fiscal position, there had not been any cuts to social services.
“The social services in Barbados have been ring-fenced against any cuts ever since we have been operating under the strict fiscal constraints that we have been operating under and the mandate given to us by the Ministry of Finance.
“There are certain agencies, departments and statutory boards that were ring-fenced against any cuts in their budgets and the agencies that fall directly under the purview of the Ministry of Social Care have been effectively protected by that policy.” (GC)