PM Breaks Ground for Apartment Complex for 40 Young Women Leaving State Care

Story Highlights

  • A total of 40 young ladies, from age 18 to 21, who have reached the required age to leave state care in children’s homes or as foster children in private residences, will be accommodated in Jamaica’s first transitional apartment complex.
  • The young ladies will be provided with professional mentoring over a 3-year period, as part of the Transitional Living Programme for Children in State Care.
  • The Prime Minister said that the project is intended to help female wards of the State transition smoothly from State care to managing successfully on their own.

A total of 40 young ladies, from age 18 to 21, who have reached the required age to leave state care in children’s homes or as foster children in private residences, will be accommodated in Jamaica’s first transitional apartment complex, for which ground was broken by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller today (Friday, November 20) at Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston. The young ladies will be provided with professional mentoring over a 3-year period, as part of the Transitional Living Programme for Children in State Care.

Speaking during the Ground Breaking Ceremony, the Prime Minister said that the project is intended to help female wards of the State transition smoothly from State care to managing successfully on their own. “We have to ensure that we do all we can to assist our children to transition from innocent, secure childhood into wholesome, fulfilling teenage years. We also have to facilitate their progress into becoming responsible successful adults,” the Prime Minister said. Mrs. Simpson Miller also announced that a second transitional facility will be built in St. Elizabeth to house 40 young men at the same stage of development.

Pointing to the educational performance of children in state care, Prime Minister Simpson Miller noted that they continue to well in their Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. “I am very proud of them. I am very pleased with the educational performance of many of these wards of the State,” she said.

“I know that everything is not perfect. There are some shortcomings still to be fixed, but we have done a lot,” she added of the Government’s efforts to protect the nation’s children and to provide for those in state care.

The Prime Minister added that the Government has embarked on national and international partnerships to improve the lives of children over the years and has seen several achievements to date. She pointed to the removal of children in conflict with the law from adult correctional facilities and ensuring that children being processed at Police Lockups have child-friendly facilities as key examples. “These are welcome developments, which are in keeping with international best practice. Special thanks to the international institutions that have worked and supported us,” she said.

 

In addition to accommodation, the Transitional Living Programme for Children in State Care will provide skills training, mentorship and employment opportunities. The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus has pledged 30 scholarships for skills enriching courses for females and 15 for males.

The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development under the Development Grants Programme in the amount of US$1.38M and is being implemented through the collaborative efforts of the Caribbean Child Development Centre, the Child Development Agency, the Social Welfare Training Centre and the UWI Project Management Office.

In his remarks, Ambassador of the United States of America to Jamaica Mr. Luis Moreno welcomed the Programme, noting that wards of the state must be prepared for independent living and empowered to fulfill their dreams and potential.

JIS Social