Grange: No child must be turned away


Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has issued a statement following an emergency meeting with the management of the Possibility Programme. The meeting was convened following a newspaper report, which alleged that a boy, who lived on the street, had been denied entry to the programme.
The boy is now in the care and protection of the State and arrangements are being made for him to be admitted into the hostel operated by the Possibility Programme. He will also be receiving skills training through the Programme.
The Minister said: “The incident is unfortunate. I want to make it abundantly clear that none of our unattached youth, who comes seeking help from any Government service, must be turned away, be made to feel ignored, or leave without assistance.
“From my investigations, the procedures were followed, in the main, but the situation could have been handled with more sensitivity.
“I am resolved that this must never happen again, and so we are making adjustments.
“Since my meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 24) with the management of the Possibility Programme, the Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Warren Newby and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Faith Innerarity, a team has set about refining and broadening the policy and procedure for admissions to the programme.
“The new procedures are ready and will take effect on Monday.
“We are also strengthening the collaboration with the rest of Government and between non-government organisations to enable the development of the youth of Jamaica – attached and unattached.
“Recently, Cabinet approved a submission from me for the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Team on Youth, which comprises Government and non-government organisations, including youth leaders. The Inter-Ministerial Team will act as an oversight body for youth development in Jamaica, focussing on care and protection, education and training, employment and entrepreneurship, empowerment and participation, and health and living environments.
“Our aim is to ensure that all youth entities become more effective at their mandates and enable the youth sector to pursue goals of joined-up governance so that resources are used in a more efficient manner.
“The closer collaboration of Government Ministries, departments and agencies as well as with non-government organisations will enable each young person, who need assistance to find an appropriate place.
“The Possibility Programme must offer safety, protection and empowerment to the unattached boys that it was designed to serve.”
The Possibility Programme, which is operated through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, helps vulnerable boys and is aimed at eliminating the need for any boy to live on the street. The programme offers skills training, apprenticeship, remedial education as well as lodging.

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