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The Government is maintaining its commitment to the island’s street children, with $12 million budgeted for that purpose in the 2010-2011 Estimates of Expenditure.
The money is to be channeled into the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture’s Possibility Programme, which is aimed at providing the necessary resources and support for street children to improve their life chances.
Specific targets under the programme are to develop a coordinated and proactive approach to their social problems; remove children and youth who wipe windscreens at intersections, and enroll them in skills training projects; assist in the reintegration of children and youth with their families or schools, where possible; and encourage the participation of stakeholders.
The Components of the programme comprise a care centre, skills and employment centre, resocialisation camps and a recently built hostel.
Launched some nine years ago as an intervention programme for street boys who wipe windscreens in the Corporate Area, the Possibility Programme has become a lifeline for many of them.
Boys under 13 years old are reintegrated into the traditional or non-traditional education system. Boys, 13 years and older, are sent to the skills employment centre on Hope Road, Kingston. After graduation, the programme tries to place them in jobs or with HEART Trust for further training. To date, the programme has taken in over 500 boys and has taught more than 400 of them a skill, while placing some in jobs.