JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Forty girls in Government-run homes are to benefit from transitional living arrangements under a US$1.3 million programme, which was launched on Thursday, October 30, under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants initiative.
  • This programme is expected to impact and improve the lives of up to 400 children.
  • The project is being implemented by the UWI Open Campus Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC), in partnership with the Child Development Agency (CDA).

Forty girls in Government-run homes are to benefit from transitional living arrangements under a US$1.3 million programme, which was launched on Thursday, October 30, under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants initiative.

This programme is expected to impact and improve the lives of up to 400 children.

The project is being implemented by the UWI Open Campus Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC), in partnership with the Child Development Agency (CDA).

Speaking at the launch at the UWI’s Regional Headquarters, Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, welcomed the programme, and acknowledged that there is need for more transitional care and facilities in the island for this vulnerable group.

She informed that ongoing reforms of the state-care system for children had seen marked improvements in academics, with wards achieving up to 10 CSEC subjects with majority being distinctions, and matriculating to tertiary institutions.

“That’s because of the deliberate actions that we have implemented through the CDA for children in State care,” she stated.

The Minister noted that the Government has expended $1.7 billion on the approximately 5,000 children in 50 homes. This expenditure extends to children in foster care programmes, and those who have been kept out of the system through the provision of resources to parents and relatives.

Miss Hanna emphasised that the significant strides had been made through the CDA, citing the implementation of  a system which electronically manages children once they enter State care. The system involves input from the Ministry of Justice, the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), and other stakeholder agencies. “You can track a child from they come in, right until they exit,” she said.

Additionally, she informed that  physical and therapeutic systems have been put in place to monitor special needs children, such as those with mental disorders, or those who are particularly difficult to manage.

Mission Director of the USAID, Denise Herbol, applauded the work of the CDA and the CCDC in getting the project off the ground, noting that the goals of the partnership are to reduce the risk factors associated with low education, inadequate job and life skills and poor self image.

Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor E. Nigel Harris, in lauding the initiative, said it represents one of the stellar examples of how the CCDC, over many years, has been making a difference in the lives of Caribbean youth.

“I am really hopeful that we can continue and broaden this partnership in ways that will contribute to development across the whole region,” he said.

The Transitional Living Programme for Children in State Care Project will create appropriate and safe transitional living facility for 40 girls on their exit from State care.

It will provide for improved preparation of children who have reached the age of 18 and are about to leave residential care. This will be carried out through the establishment of an “exit-readiness” programme, which focuses on job and life skills training and mentorship.

The programme will also cover matters such as lifestyle choices, health, family, employability, the environment, and secure public-private partnership.