JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government unveils a mobile therapeutic unit for children, including those in state care on November 27.
  • The unit was funded by the European Union (EU) and UNICEF.
  • The unit will be able to go into the various places of safety and children homes to do counseling.

The government will, on Wednesday (November 27), unveil a mobile therapeutic unit for children, including those in state care.

The unit, funded by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will have the services of a psychiatrist, psychologist, among other health professionals, as well as a social officer.

Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who made the announcement, said the unit will greatly assist youngsters requiring medical care who may, among other things, encounter challenges getting to the nearest health facility.

“Rather than bring the children to a health centre, that mobile unit will be fully funded to be able to go into the various places of safety and children homes (among other places) to do counseling (among other provisions) for children whenever they need it,” she explained.

The Minister was addressing the Educational Achievement Awards ceremony for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) high achievers in state care at the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) auditorium, downtown Kingston. on Friday (November 22).

Miss Hanna reiterated the Government’s commitment to safeguarding the welfare of children, particularly those in state care, noting that approximately $1.7 billion has been earmarked this fiscal year to finance the operations of the Child Development Agency (CDA) and Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR).

She advised that close to $1.2 billion of this sum has already been spent on operational care at children’s homes and places of safety islandwide.
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, re-affirmed the agency’s undertaking to ensure that children in state care have access to quality education.

“Children in our care attend regular public schools and schools within our facilities as well. Last year, nearly $20 million was spent on direct support to (finance the) education (of children) in state care,” she said.

Mrs. Gage-Grey informed that this year, through the efforts of the agency’s Advisory Board Chairperson, the Ministry of Education has agreed to pay the fees for all children in state care who will be sitting the 2014 CSEC and CAPE examinations.

Hosted by the Youth Ministry in collaboration with the CDA, the awards function recognised 42 children in state care who achieved four subjects or more in the CSEC and CAPE.