The country’s first Transitional Living Complex for Children in State care will be opened soon at 24 Lady Musgrave Road, in Kingston.
Girls who will be exiting State care on turning 18 years of age will be accommodated at the location.
The complex is in the final stages of completion and is expected to be opened in August 2018. The total cost of the complex is $135 million.
Ground was broken for the complex in November 2015 and construction commenced in July 2017.
The building will house 40 young women aged 18 to 21 who have “aged out” of State care and have no options for safe housing.
Speaking to JIS News following a tour of the building on Thursday (June 7), State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green said “today is a very good day for us in the Ministry. This is something that has been a pipe dream of our child-protection service for a very long time”.
“To actually come to the building and see that we are close to the end brings me a lot of joy. It has always been a difficulty across our child-protection system where we have children leaving State care, transitioning out of our homes that have nowhere else to go. We have always said that we needed somewhere that our children could have some additional time, especially for those who are in educational institutions where they could live, go to school and work while they set themselves for a better life,” he said.
The complex has seven four-bedroom suites with double and single room accommodation, and shared living, dining and kitchen spaces. Also included is a Manager’s suite with separate office space and laundry facilities. The apartments will be outfitted with furniture and appliances.
During their stay over a period of two to three years, the residents will be mentored to achieve personal and career goals in preparation for independent living.
Also touring the site were Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey; and representatives from the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC) and funding agency for the project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has provided US$5.2 million over six years.
Mrs. Gage-Grey told JIS News that the facility is one of the components of the programme, which seeks to support these young people as they make the transition to independent living.
“The facility is for any child who needs accommodation for transitioning. Young adults who are here will be at different stages, some will be in school, some will be learning a trade and some will be working. The aim is that any child who leaves State care, we will be able to help them to transition properly,” she said.
Two additional transitional facilities will be constructed, including one for boys.
The multicomponent project is being implemented through the collaborative efforts of the CCDC, University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and the CPFSA.