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Story Highlights

  • JSIF has committed $60 million to finance construction of a therapeutic centre for abused children.
  • The centre is intended to address the effects of abuse suffered by the nation’s children; particularly those taken into residential child care institutions.
  • The Minister advised that the centre will be staffed by mental health professionals.

The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has committed $60 million to finance construction of a therapeutic centre for abused children. The facility is the brainchild of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says the centre is intended to address the effects of abuse suffered by the nation’s children; particularly those taken into residential child care institutions, “and give them the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives.”

She made the announcement while delivering her 2014/15 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 20, under the theme: ‘Not Leaving It To Chance’.

Miss Hanna informed that the new facility will be equipped to offer a behaviour modification and therapeutic intervention plan, with complementary care planning activities that embrace best practices, as outlined in the Child Care and Protection Act, and “rights-based approaches” provided for under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Minister advised that the centre will be staffed by mental health professionals, who will assess abused children and design individualised programmes to support their treatment.

Additionally, she said consistent with the Ministry’s policy to ensure that where possible, a child should be re-united with his/her family, “all programmatic solutions (developed) will involve parents/guardians/caregivers.”

“The facility, once established, will cater to both new entrants into the system, (and those) who have had (their) order revoked,” the Minister stated.

Miss Hanna disclosed that, 5,326 reports of child abuse have been reported to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) thus far, this year, pointing out that “the number has been increasing.”

She noted however, that the Ministry has responded by strengthening and expanding the OCR’s services islandwide.

“In the last (2013/14) financial year , we ensured that the Registry commenced operations in three new parishes – sharing spaces with the Child Development Agency (CDA) in Manchester, St. Ann, and Westmoreland,” the Minister informed.

Miss Hanna advised that sharing of resources has helped the Registry to keep its operational costs down, and to put more resources into direct services to the public, particularly children. She disclosed that this year, the Registry will expand to St. Mary.