On Friday, the Cyprus Anti-Drugs Council (NAAC) will announce the creation of a rehabilitation unit for unaccompanied minors Phileleftheros reports.
The unit will begin operations in March in a Nicosia building and will be able to host up to 15 minors.
Following a tender process, Agia Skepi Therapeutic Community was commissioned to take over the programme and will model it on its adults’ rehabilitation programme.
“Although the unit will cover a big gap in these teenagers’ lives, it can’t solve the whole problem,” NAAC president Chrysanthos Georgiou told Phileleftheros.
Children who don’t have a supportive environment in their lives are more likely to use drugs, Georgiou said. “State shelters should be staffed with experts in order to apply the right programmes to prevent the children before they start using drugs.”
The children in these shelters need specialised care, Georgiou said. “They have been alone since a small age and they don’t have a supportive environment. They need specialised care. This care must be coherent and consistent. We have to look at how we treat children from a young age and prepare them to resist to drugs.”
“It is very difficult to handle minors who don’t have a supportive environment in their lives. We believe that there should be interventions by experts in places like this. Shelters are not only for food and accommodation. There must be a coordination between responsible authorities. Action must start being preventive, not correctional as we usually do,” Georgiou added.
Spokesperson of the Social Welfare Services Maria Kyratzi expressed her satisfaction over the upcoming operation of the unit. “Although state shelters cover some of the children’s needs, they are still in need of specialised care. They should have specifically-designed units which can cover their needs. Unfortunately, the Social Welfare Services do not have the ability to provide this kind of care.”