Monitoring of former KRK residents to be extended to three years

|     Rokiah Mahmud     |

MINISTER of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin said that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has strived to provide children in the Welfare Home Complex (KRK) with religious education and skills, so that there will be no relapses upon their release.

The minister was responding to a question raised by Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Awang Haji Abdul Rahman, on whether there were any follow-up programmes for KRK residents, at the 15th LegCo meeting yesterday.

The minister explained, “Over the last three years, only one out of 26 released residents had a relapse, owing to lack of parental supervision. Looking at the small number, it shows the effectiveness of the programmes being conducted at the KRK.”

He then pointed out that the follow-up actions for former KRK residents are carried out by the Family, Women, Children Division and Counselling Division of the Community Development Department (JAPEM).

“Prior to their release, the appropriate programmes will be arranged accordingly,” he said. “Among the coordinated programmes are resuming school, attending vocational skills classes at the Youth Development Centre, job placement programmes, participation in the National Service Programme (PKBN) and registration at JobCentre Brunei to enable employment opportunities for those above the age of 18.

“Out of the 26 residents who were released three years ago, 17 are currently employed, furthering their studies, or opening businesses. Their employment includes working as security guards, shop assistants, offshore painters and operating their own businesses in the sale of food items and fruit.”

He also added that the MCYS plans to extend the monitoring and supervision period from one year to three, to ensure that these former residents will continue to receive the necessary guidance and assistance in terms of self-improvement, skills development and employment.

On the welfare and well-being of the KRK residents, the minister said that more qualified staff are required for the handling of complex social care needs.

“A professional social workforce and budget allocation, especially for professional programmes geared towards the children and their families, would be sufficient,” he said. “We are also of the view that the management and administration of the KRK should be carried out professionally; and in this direction, its management and administration should be seen as holistic, not only in terms of infrastructure, but more importantly, its human resources and effective programmes.

“JAPEM has been continuously arranging for its workforce to take up various training and other related courses, including counselling, leadership and management, and job placement,” the minister added.