The Eastern Caribbean Area (ECA) comprises eight independent states (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago) and four overseas territories (Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, underpinned by violence, inequities, increased natural disasters, and environmental degradation, made growing up challenging for children in the ECA. On the
humanitarian front, natural hazards forced the displacement of children and their families in the subregion. Following the La Soufrière volcanic eruption in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on April 9, 2021, approximately 22,000 people needed support, including over 4,800 children, following the mandatory evacuation of 30 villages. In addition to the loss and damage of homes, the country lost between 80 and 100 per cent of vegetation in the affected zones. The country spent nearly a year recovering from the volcanic eruption, with teams on the ground fully engaged in restoring all affected areas. Following the emergency, the UNICEF ECA team was able to dedicate time in building clear
case management processes with their government counter-parts and in an effort to strengthen social welfare and allow case workers to act more effectively to safeguard children, Primero was launched in ECA under the UN Spotlight Initiative. Primero first went live in June 2022 in Trinidad and Tobago’s to offer better quality support to case workers working with children who have faced abuse and neglect, led by the Children’s Authorityof Trinidad and Tobago. To-date, the Children’s Authority is case managing nearly 40,000 children within CPIMS+ with strong technical support within their team who are continually training and supporting case workers on the system.
In November 2022, the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Local Government, Gender Affairs, Family Affairs, Housing and Informal Settlement in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have welcomed the scale up of Primero in support of their programming for children and survivors
of violence, children in alternative care, such as foster care, kinship care, in-transit and institutions. Prior to November 2022, the Ministry and all service providing agencies were using paper-based processes and bookkeeping to document their case management needs in a busy central downtown office where
children would walk-in who need support or would call-in to report incidents.
Case workers, managers and leaders within Saint Vincent and the Grenadines actively participated in localizing Primero for their needs and in less than one week were able to have a system aligned to their paper-based forms and ways of working. After a day of training, case workers and managers brought their real case files and began moving their paper notes to the system.
With a case load of 400 children requiring support in SaintVincent and the Grenadines, this cross-functional, dedicated team is using Primero to not only facilitate case management but also to properly document children in alternative care including foster care, kinship care, in-transit and institutions as well as adoptions.