JIS News

Children in detention centres, along with their parents, will benefit from counselling workshops being organised by the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

The sessions are being planned by a special Children Support Taskforce, consisting of a wide cross section of civil society groups and individuals who have come on board to assist with parenting and other interventions. Convenor of the group is Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis and Deputy Convenor is Psychiatrist, Dr. Aggrey Irons.

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, in an interview with JIS News said the sessions will be rolled out this summer.

“They are now finalizing the curriculum, finalizing the schedule and we are very pleased about this process,” she said.

Additionally, Miss Hanna said the Ministry will be rolling out a project dubbed, ‘Art for Life’, where children in State care will be exposed to art, music, dance and poetry. She said the sessions will complement the regular programmes of the institution.

“We feel, especially in those situations where some of our young women, for whatever reasons, have ended up there…they need avenues for expressions and that’s what the Art for Life programme is about,” she said, adding that the programme is being sponsored by the CHASE Fund.

Highlighting the importance of the counselling workshops, the Minister said it is important for the children to have counselling with their family members.

“At some point they will be re-integrated into their families and there needs to be a transition and an understanding of how that transition will take place. That is one of the critical reasons why we have decided to put it in place,” she added.

Miss Hanna had announced in her recent presentation in the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, that the ‘Art for Life’ programme would initially include female children at Fort Augusta, the Horizon Remand Centre and the Homestead Place of Safety in Stony Hill.

She said the Department of Correctional Services, Child Development Agency, Edna Manley College, the National Gallery, the Institute of Jamaica and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission will collaborate on the initiative.

Contact: E. Hartman Reckord

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