JIS News

Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, has appealed to more Jamaicans to adopt or foster a child, noting that the best place for children to grow up is with a caring family.
The Minister, who was making his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 19), noted that as at the end of December 2006, there were 5,347 children in the care of the state.
“As ‘step-father’ for our children in care, I am appealing to more citizens to foster a child or adopt and help make a difference to our children made vulnerable by circumstances beyond their control,” Mr. Dalley stated.
He informed the House that last year, 2,945 children participated in the Living in Family Environments Programme, which includes foster care, home-on-trial, supervision order and adoption. “This represents 53 per cent of the total number of children in the care and protection of the government. This year, we plan to increase this figure to 65 per cent,” the Minister said.
In the meantime, he said that several programmes have been implemented to upgrade the education and promote the personal development of children in state care and a number of residential facilities were rehabilitated.
“Regrettably, the Musgrave Home for Girls was destroyed by fire earlier this year and a new facility will be constructed very soon,” Mr. Dalley said.
He also informed that the Child Development Agency has executed its mandate under the Child Care and Protection Act to set up a Children’s Registry. “An acting Registrar is in place and a toll free line, 1-888-protect, was established,” the Minister added.
He further appealed to residents of communities, “not to turn a blind eye to the abuse and neglect of our children. The government has put in place a mechanism to help us protect our children, so do the right thing and make that call. you could be saving a child’s life and helping a family get on the right path,” Mr. Dalley said.

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