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  • The Government is to undertake a strategic review of its residential child care facilities, to strengthen the services provided for children in State care.
  • This was disclosed by State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, following a meeting with the senior management team of the Child Development Agency (CDA), at its head office in downtown Kingston, on March 21.
  • The CDA directly manages and supports eight government child care facilities while providing oversight and financial assistance to over 40 private homes.

The Government is to undertake a strategic review of its residential child care facilities, to strengthen the services provided for children in State care.

This was disclosed by State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, following a meeting with the senior management team of the Child Development Agency (CDA), at its head office in downtown Kingston, on March 21.

Mr. Green told JIS News that this activity will be a priority item for the Ministry in the upcoming financial year, and he will be consulting with Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, on the matter.

The CDA directly manages and supports eight government child care facilities while providing oversight and financial assistance to over 40 private homes.

The agency is, in essence, the guardian of all children in residential child care facilities, and provides all the support that a parent would give to a child. In this regard, the agency provides for the medical, educational and developmental needs of children living in residential child care facilities.

Highlighting other plans for the agency, Mr. Green said the Government is also exploring more options to facilitate transitional living for children. He noted that one of the problems identified is that children still need support when they are to exit residential care.

“Through partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we’re looking to see how we can establish some transitional care facilities,” he informed.

Mr. Green further noted that the administration is seeking to put systems in place to ensure that the cases that come into the CDA are effectively managed and that there is follow through.

“Part of what we’ll be looking at is strengthening their case management system, especially from the technological side, to have better monitoring of each child that comes into the system,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr. Green told JIS News that he assured the CDA’s management that under this new Ministry, “the needs of our children will  be given even greater priority”.

“I outlined to them the mission to have a Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, where the synergies are heightened, where we are ensuring that our children and our educational system is directly tied into the system that is run by the CDA in their residential homes, and that children still have full access to the educational system and to developmental opportunities,” he said.

Established in 2004, out of a merger of the Child Support Unit, the Child Services Division, and the Adoption Division, the CDA is a leader in Jamaica’s child protection system, whose work entails promoting child-friendly policies and ground-breaking programmes to strengthen families.