The Government is now better positioned to provide targeted support to meet the needs of residents in vulnerable communities in the Corporate Area and St. James as part of the crime-prevention strategy.
This follows the release of a ‘Needs Assessment for Case Management and Psychosocial Services’ report under the Citizen Security Plan (CSP) at the Office of the Commissioner of Police in St. Andrew on Wednesday (June 29).
CSP is designed to reduce widespread criminal violence and provide opportunities for the development of vulnerable communities.
The needs assessment, conducted through support from the European Union (EU), focused on evaluating the psychosocial support and case management needs of children, youth, and victims of gender-based violence, who will benefit from the main interventions of the CSP.
It covers the parishes of the five 2021 Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Kingston, St. Andrew, and St. James, and considers the support from 10 public agencies.
In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the report provides the necessary baseline assessment that will inform the development of meaningful and transformative social programmes within the targeted parishes.
He noted that the need for empirical data of this nature, to drive policy implementation, was a central point of his sectoral presentation in 2021 and “which I reiterated again this year”.
“Social development activities must be relevant for social investment to impact on crime. Social investment must be data-driven to make sense to the people. That is the unparalleled value of this Needs Assessment of Case Managers and Psychosocial Services,” Dr. Chang said.
The National Security Minster said the assessment shows that those in need of intervention represent one-third of the combined population of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and St. James.
In addition, 14,000 children and adolescents require case management support, and more than 1,200 need attention from medical professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists.
“The estimated current demand is at least 14,123. Our agencies are currently serving 6,323 individuals with the capacity to serve only 3,275. This needs assessment is highlighting the areas that require additional work, and where our coordinated efforts need to be strengthened,” Dr. Chang noted.
“Of note, the report highlights that case management and psychosocial services must be provided alongside education, training and other programmes to be most effective among high-risk beneficiaries,” he added.
Dr. Chang informed that the Ministry of National Security has increased its collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth and will continue to explore areas of common interest to pursue jointly.
For her part, Executive Director of the Citizen Security Secretariat, which is coordinating the CSP, Dianne McIntosh, said the Ministry of National Security is grateful for the sponsorship and support of the European Union Delegation to conduct the needs assessment across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“The findings of the report have provided both quantitative and qualitative evidence of what has long been known that there is a dire need for a more specialised approach to social investment initiatives targeted at youths at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violent crime,” Ms. McIntosh said.
She said the importance of advancing an integrated strategy for case management and psychosocial support cannot be overstated, noting that this may well be the difference between adding an additional case manager to prevent a child from falling into a life of crime.
“We are encouraged those steps are being taken to advance the dialogue. The CSP has seen major progress in our integrated multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the risk factors of crime by prioritising…strategies to train, certify and recruit at-risk youths,” Ms. McIntosh pointed out.
Meanwhile, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Aniceto Rodriguez Ruiz, noted that case management and psychosocial support are not only good for crime and violence prevention, but are also necessary “if we want to apply the mantra of the sustainable development agenda, ‘not to leave anyone behind’.”
“These services support the most needy children and youth to be successful in accessing vocational training, living a healthy life, achieving their full potential and building, if they so desire, a sound family life,” Mr. Ruiz said.