The findings of a diagnostic study designed to review the capacity of the State to “prepare wards of the state for independent living,” were released Thursday March 29.
The objectives of the study were: to identify “intervening variables that contribute to, or prevent successful re-integration into the wider society for former wards of the state; conduct a social assessment of the adequacy of the child protection system and its ability to support transition to independent living; and make recommendations to assist the transition."
This study is part of the Government of Jamaica/World Bank Social Protection Project, aimed at supporting Jamaica in strengthening its social protection system.
The project harmonises with the Vision 2030 National Development Plan and the development of a Social Protection Strategy.
The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which is implementing the project, has been consulting with stakeholders in the process of developing the strategy and indicates that, “it is imperative that a comprehensive approach be adopted to ensure the successful re-integration of former state wards into society."
The PIOJ emphasises that the State must anticipate intake and graduation of wards to ensure that at “a minimum,” children under the care of the State are in equal standing with their counterparts at the age of maturity.
Among the recommendations of the study are for the establishment of “reciprocal data-sharing” and service linkages between the Child Development Agency and the Ministry of Youth and Culture, to allow for a seamless transfer of independent living services after the wards exit residential care.
The social inquiry was undertaken by Consultant, Rose Robinson Hall, using a sample of ex-wards of the State, “examining the achievement of independent living milestones since their exit from state care.”
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter