JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government has budgeted $18 million for initiatives under the National Child Diversion Programme, which deals with children involved in conflicts with the law.
  • The Child Diversion Programme seeks to develop and sustain a justice system in which the best interest of the child is paramount.
  • It is being implemented throughout the criminal justice system, beginning with police cautioning, diversion from the courts, and early release from correctional facilities.

The Government has budgeted $18 million for initiatives under the National Child Diversion Programme, which deals with children involved in conflicts with the law, outside of formal judicial proceedings.

The funds have been set aside in the 2014/15 Estimates of Expenditure, currently being reviewed by the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives.

Financed by the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund, the initiative got underway in April 2013.

Formerly the Child Protection Programme, its targets for this fiscal year include: refurbishing three child diversion centres; contracting four child diversion centre managers; providing mental health services to 30 children in conflict with the law; rental of four spaces for child diversion centres; and, training referral agents (judiciary, police, prosecutors and resident magistrates).

Some of the achievements to date include: completion of a draft National Child Diversion Policy; equipping 40 Restorative Justice Facilitators with child rights and responsibilities skills; completion of assessment of attendance centres; and approval of concept Paper on National Child Diversion Policy by Cabinet.

Achievements also included: the hosting of two sexual abuse workshops, ‘Focusing on Child Sexual Abuse’ in Mandeville; hosting two sexual abuse workshop, ‘Focusing on Child Abuse’ in St. James; and hosting of two Workshops ‘Focusing on Child Sexual Abuse’ in Kingston and St. Andrew; and hosting of six National Child Diversion Policy consultation island wide with- (Justices of the Peace, police, children’s officers, probation officers and the general public).

The Child Diversion Programme seeks to develop and sustain a justice system in which the best interest of the child is paramount; and administer programmes that secure their protection, and rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society with the respect of the law.

It is being implemented throughout the criminal justice system, beginning with police cautioning, diversion from the courts, and early release from correctional facilities. The programme is slated for completion in March 2016.