JIS News

Public Defender, Howard Hamilton, is encouraging members of the public to take wards of the state into their homes this Christmas season. “Encouraging children of the family home to get involved in bringing some Christmas cheer to these children is important,” he pointed out, while noting that if persons were unable to take in a child, they could visit the children’s homes bearing gifts.
The Public Defender’s office some three years ago, introduced the programme inviting families to take disadvantaged children into their homes for the holidays, including street children, and based on its success, it was decided that the initiative be revived this year.
He noted that although the gesture was a temporary measure, it was particularly important this year in light of the extended Christmas period.
Meanwhile, Director of Policy Planning and Evaluation at the Child Development Agency (CDA), Audrey Budhai, endorsed the initiative, noting that it was in keeping with the CDA’s programme of assisting wards of the state.
She noted that the move was particularly important in light of the suffering some children were still facing as a result of Hurricane Ivan.
“We are very much aware of the children being traumatised during the hurricane and the CDA has been at the forefront of ways of implementing psychosocial support programmes for the children and caregivers,” she continued.
She informed that the CDA, through support from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) was examining innovative interventions, which would include “edutainment”, counselling and other methods to assist the children to deal with their experiences.
Persons wishing to participate in the initiative may contact Dianne McIntosh at the St. Andrew Care Centre, located at 2 Ambrook Lane in Kingston, just below the St. Andrew Parish Church or contact the King Street offices of the CDA, telephone: 948-6678/948-2841-2. The CDA requires early notification in order to make the necessary arrangements for the children.

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