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JIS News

About 3,005 children in need of care and protection were placed with families under the Living in Family Environment (LIFE) programmes between January and September 2012.

Chief Executive Officer of the Child Development Agency (CDA), Carla Francis Edie, said the number is 57. 5 per cent of the 5,226 children in state care and represents an increase over the 53 per cent placed during 2011.

She made the disclosure at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank held on Wednesday (January 15) at the agency’s head office in Kingston.

She informed that of the 3,005 children in LIFE programmes, 985 are in foster care; 802 are in the family re-integration programme; and 1,220 are on supervision orders. She explained that under the supervision orders, the judge instructs that a child in need of protection should remain at home with a parent or relative under the supervision of a CDA Children’s Officer.

As the CDA worked to place children in family environments as an alternative to child care institutions, Mrs. Francis Edie informed that there were 141 adoptions between January and September 2012.

In addition, two Child and Family Support Units (CSFU) were established at the CDA’s regional offices in Kingston and St. James to provide the necessary interventions to families to prevent children from entering state care.

“The CDA’s social workers provide counselling to families going through challenges and connect these families with other support services, such as PATH (Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education),” she stated.

She said that of the 519 children seen by the CDA, only 13 remained in state care while the other 506 remained with their families or relatives.

In addition, some 881 children were processed under the multi-agency model programme as at September 2012, with 832 of those children remaining with their families.

“Previously these children would have been placed in residential child care facilities,” Mrs. Francis Edie informed.

The multi-agency model is a partnership involving the police, the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), CDA, the Victim Support Unit, the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) and the Office of the Children’s Advocate.

It was developed to reduce secondary trauma to children, who have been abused, and also lessen the number of children entering state care.