The Ministry of Justice is calling on Jamaicans to sign up as mentors for the National Child Diversion Programme.
The Programme focuses on diverting children who have come in conflict with the law away from the criminal justice system and using a combination of psychosocial support for rehabilitation.
So far, there have been 37 referrals and 27 cautions issued from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as well as 14 referrals from the Courts to the Programme.
Consultant with the National Child Diversion Programme, Ruth Carey, said, so far, more than 450 mentors have been trained and are available across the island to assist youth who get into trouble.
“We targeted about 30 mentors per parish to start, and I believe we have over 450 mentors now in the Programme.
Eighty per cent of these persons are Justices of the Peace. We have trained all of the mentors in the Programme, so every child will be assigned a mentor to fit their circumstances and their needs,” Ms. Carey said.
She was speaking during the Ministry of Justice ‘Access Justice Live’ virtual town hall, held at the Ministry’s Head Office in Kingston and streamed live across multiple platforms.
It focused on educating Jamaicans on the various developments in the justice sector as well as facilitated discussions on justice-related matters of national interest.
Persons interested in signing up as mentors with the Programme can visit the Ministry’s website at moj.gov.jm and fill out the form available.
Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry is calling on counsellors, psychologists and social workers to volunteer their time to offer their services to the Child Diversion Programme.
Ms. Carey said the Programme is critical, as it focuses on the development of communities becoming part of the process for healing.
“It is a holistic approach. So, whilst our parish committees have an education officer, a guidance counsellor, a medical practitioner, a Justice of the Peace, and a minister of religion, we also require social workers and psychologists. Any retired person can contact our office and if you are a social worker, counsellor or psychologist, we really require your support. So, if you are interested in offering hours to our programme, we would appreciate it,” Ms. Carey said.
Interested persons can contact the Ministry of Justice at 876-906-4923-31 or visit the head office at 61 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10.