The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI), through an agreement with the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVICERC), has initiated an assessment to determine the status of children in the U.S. Virgin Islands post hurricanes Irma and Maria. The assessment, a project that will be managed through CFVI’s USVI KIDS COUNT Initiative, will take place over the next six months and will include several best practice approaches to determine the health, education, human services, housing status and the needs of children and families in the territory during this post-hurricane period.
CFVI’s Director of Grants and Programs Dr. Anna Wheatley Scarbriel also serves as the USVI KIDS COUNT director and will oversee the foundation’s collaboration with UVICERC.
Scarbriel describes the project as an important and timely extension of CFVI’s KIDS COUNT initiative. “Given our nearly 20-year history of producing the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book highlighting indicators of well-being of children and families in the territory, this project is of critical importance as we assess the needs and challenges facing children in the USVI and determine how we can collectively build forward. Based on our past partnerships with the UVICERC team, we believe their expertise is best-suited to this tremendous undertaking. We are eager to launch this project and are hopeful that the findings will serve as a catalyst for stakeholders across the territory to inform efforts around advocacy, strategic decision-making, and access to additional funding needed to bolster the well-being of our children, youth and families in the wake of the September hurricanes.”
It is expected that the community needs assessment will identify gap areas and priority issues that will translate into information about where the needs of children and the community are not being met. The final report on the community needs assessment will be shared with the public, and it is anticipated that the end-product will complement the type of data and information found in the annual USVI KIDS COUNT Data Book.
The project aligns with the CFVI’s mission-driven activities seeking to ensure the highest quality of life for both present and future generations by focusing on programs that address children and families.
In addition to providing administrative oversight to over 100 named funds and programs, CFVI is now focused on meeting the emergency, intermediate and long-term needs of children, youth and families in the aftermath of the two hurricanes. UVI, through its Caribbean Exploratory Research Center and the Eastern Caribbean Center, is the major provider of scientific, data-driven research and analysis in the U.S. Virgin Islands for demographic, social and health issues.
Dr. Gloria Callwood, director of UVICERC, confidently said, “CERC views this project as an important opportunity to document the magnitude of the 2017 hurricanes’ impact on Virgin Islands children and their families. We anticipate that the resulting data will be significant to informing decision making and the development of workable approaches to mitigating the impact of future disasters on children and their families.”
Requests for information or questions should be directed to Anna Wheatley Scarbriel at [email protected] or 774-6031.