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  • The Minister of Youth and Culture, the Honourable Lisa Hanna has announced that the Ministry has made strides in its restructuring efforts with the establishment of the Children’s Affairs Division and the building out of the Youth and Adolescents Division.
  • The Minister had articulated in her Sectoral Debate presentation that the Ministry would be moving to address the implementation of outstanding policies as well as the development of innovative strategies for youth development and children in need of care and protection.
  • These strategies will include, among other things, the construction of a model child care therapeutic facility and the introduction of several new programmes by the National Youth Service (NYS).

The Minister of Youth and Culture, the Honourable Lisa Hanna has announced that the Ministry has made strides in its restructuring efforts with the establishment of the Children’s Affairs Division and the building out of the Youth and Adolescents Division.

The Minister had articulated in her Sectoral Debate presentation that the Ministry would be moving to address the implementation of outstanding policies as well as the development of innovative strategies for youth development and children in need of care and protection.  These strategies will include, among other things, the construction of a model child care therapeutic facility and the introduction of several new programmes by the National Youth Service (NYS). This new development is the direct response to such a commitment to the country.

The direction aims at greater emphasis on effective management and on the smooth and timely introduction of policies and programmes. Executive Agencies such as the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the NYS will now be tasked with the implementation of new and existing programmes under their respective mandates.

“These two divisions with the requisite technical staff will greatly assist the Ministry to address policies relating to the sectors, as well as, manage in an efficient way all the disparate issues surrounding children and youth that cut across several other agencies. Previously, there were no existing divisions in any Ministry specifically tasked and staffed to address children and youth policy formulation; that was left on the shoulders of the CDA and the National Centre for Youth Development respectively (NCYD). The CDA and the NCYD whose mandates are to implement children and youth programmes were stretched to research and develop the policies as well. It was not the most effective management approach as tasks were either left incomplete or programmes not fully implemented.” the Minister explained.

She said she was pleased especially because the reviews of three seminal policies are now well advanced and ready for submission to Cabinet: The Child Care and Protection Act, the Adoption of Children Act and the National Youth Policy.  The implementation of the revised Youth Policy will see the creation of a Youth Development Agency that will include among other things, the programme implementation being done by the NYS and the NCYD (which is currently a part of the Youth and Adolescents Division).

When the transition is complete, the major functions of the Youth and Adolescents Division will include:

  • Ongoing Youth Policy Development and Strategy
  • Programme Development
  • Strategic monitoring and evaluation of programmes being implemented
  • Standards setting
  • Research related to youth development
  • Leadership/coordination of local and international programmes
  • Negotiation of private/public partnerships with local and international agencies
  • Collaboration with Sector partners to implement the National Youth Policy

 

The new Children’s Affairs Division is now responsible for providing technical support in the development of policies, legislative framework and programmes geared towards the care, protection and general welfare of Jamaican children (0-18 years old).  The Division will also oversee the activities of the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) with regards to the implementation of policies and the effective delivery of child care and protection services.

The Minister added that the establishment of the divisions will allow the Ministry to better serve children and young people with greater efficiency as there will be clear lines for functions and responsibilities as well as ensuring the implementation of the protocols under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

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