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Tuesday 5th June 2012

Five officers from the Ministry of Health, Social Transformation, Consumer Affairs and Local Government were among several service men and women honoured during a Community Guest Relations Day at the St. Johns Seventh Day Adventist Church, Saturday.

Receiving awards for their outstanding service to the Community were Cindy Price- Chief Welfare Officer, Alethea Byers-Principal Probation Officer (Ag), Ava-Maria Thomas- Deputy Chief Welfare Officer, Brenda Bennett- Government’s Residential Assistance and Care for the  Elderly (GRACE) Manager and Carlstein Quinland-Chief Welfare Aide.
Parliamentary Secretary Health, Social Transformation, Consumer Affairs and Local Government Senator Malaka Parker who attended the church service congratulated the five and commended the Seventh Day Adventist - South Leeward Mission for the initiative.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Social Transformation & Consumer Affairs also in congratulating the five officers from the department urged other civil servants, to hard work and exert professional diligence.
Pastor Wayne Knowles of South Leeward Mission also in congratulating the honourees indicated that the recognition of service men and women are conducted twice per year.
The five honourees also expressed gratitude; to the Seventh Day Adventist Church for their inclusion and gesture.
Profile of Honourees
Recognition for services rendered to the communities of Antigua and Barbuda June 2012:
Ms Cindy Price –Chief Welfare Officer
Cindy Price began her career at the Citizens’ Welfare Division as an informal intern during vacations while she was doing her BSc. Sociology at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.  Upon completion of her studies in 1996, she volunteered for six (6) months at the Division doing casework with children and families. 
In November of the same year, she was hired as an acting Probation Officer. 
Since then she has functioned in several capacities in the Citizens’ Welfare Division such as Welfare Officer, Senior Welfare Officer and Deputy Chief Welfare Officer. 
Some of the highlights of her sixteen (16) plus years at the Division include: organizing remedial classes for teenage probationers, coordinating the Division’s annual summer camp which is now in its 16th year and supervising various student interns from several universities.
 In 2000, she obtained her M.A in Social Work and Social Care from Bradford University in England. 
She is now the Chief Welfare Officer managing the operations of the Citizens’ Welfare Division’s three (3) units:  Child Protection and Family Services, GRACE Programme and the Probation Unit.
Ms Alethea Byers- Principal Probation Officer (Ag)
Ms Alethea Byers is the Principal Probation Officer (Ag) in the Probation Unit of the Citizen’s welfare Division. Ms Byers has been employed at the Citizen’s Welfare Division from September 1999.
She has completed the Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree with specialization in Clinical Social Work with a focus on family violence & trauma and has garnered experience in family therapy. 
She also had training in Substance use/abuse, Advocacy, Programme Planning and Policy Development.
Her work involves writing detailed reports for the Courts to facilitate and to enhance decision-making by the Magistrates/Judges; carrying out Social investigations to determine the Client’s Social status; counselling of children and adults; providing advocacy for clients; liaising with the Police in all cases of juveniles and adults; liaising with students and parents; providing follow-up services for clients, particularly those on probation; assisting with the department’s annual Summer Camp for juveniles;  and providing administrative support within the Department.
Ms Ava-Maria Thomas- Deputy Chief Welfare Officer
Ava-Maria Thomas, Deputy Chief Welfare Officer, has always taken a client centered approach when working with her clients. 
After receiving a Bachelors Degree in Social Work, she began working at the Citizens’ Welfare Division on September 1st2005 as a Welfare Officer. 
 Ms Thomas was promoted to Senior Welfare Officer after she completed her Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology in 2009.
 In that position, she served as a counselor for the Division’s clients who were traumatized by the acts of others or had behavioral problems. 
She was confirmed as Deputy Chief Welfare Officer in 2012.  In this position, she is challenged to evaluate the effectiveness of various programmes, initiate necessary changes required for improvement and assess the need for new programmes that would better benefit the Division’s clientele. 
Mrs. Brenda Bennett- Government’s Residential Assistance and Care for the Elderly (GRACE) Manager
Mrs. Brenda Bennett is the current GRACE Programme Manager in the Citizens Welfare Division, a position she has held from 2008.
 After leaving school, she worked as a teacher at the All Saints Primary and Secondary Schools for over three (3) years prior to travelling to England to pursue nursing studies.
In England, she was trained as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and an Intensive Therapy Unit Nurse and also gained clinical experience in all three (3) fields.
 She then served a three (3) year contract at the University Hospital of the West Indies, at Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica working in the Intensive Care Unit before returning to Antigua.
Back home, she worked as staff nurse and then served as 1st Ward Sister in the Intensive Care Unit of Holberton Hospital for over 9 years, during which time she also conducted Leadership and Management Training for senior staff nurses of various government institutions. She also conducted other training for Ward Assistants and other staff.
Mrs.Carlstien Quinland- Chief Welfare Aide
Carlstien Quinland has been working at the Citizens Welfare Division for the past 23 yrs. She worked as a Welfare Aide from 1989-1997.
In 1998 she went to Jamaica where she did a course in the Principles and Practices of social work. In 1999-2001 She worked as a Supervisor for the Home Care Program giving assistance to the senior citizens in their homes.
From 2001 to the present she has served as the Chief Welfare Aide with the responsibility of organizing and planning programs for the senior citizens.
Some of these programs are an Easter get together, the annual beach exercise program and also an Island tour- where the seniors are taken on day tours around the island to historic sites. She also coordinates the seniors’ Independence programs and a Christmas food package.
The job is a challenging one but she enjoys working with the elderly. She works along with 13 Welfare Aides and an assistant Chief Welfare Aide. 

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