JIS: Some $40 million has been allocated by the Government for renovation work at several children’s homes and places of safety this year.
This sum is in addition to the more than $80 million spent by the Government to renovate a number of children’s homes and places of safety in 2016.
The institutions identified for the refurbishing project include Granville Place of Safety, St. Augustine Place of Safety, Summerfield Child Care, Maxfield Park Children’s Home and Homestead Place of Safety.
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, gave details during his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 5.
Other improvements being made to the Children Services Division is the increased budgetary allocation to the disaster management grants, which, for the first time, have been extended to private homes.
Additionally, following discussions in 2016 on measures to reposition the child-protection residential sector, Mr. Green said a strategic review is now under way. Among other things, the exercise is intended to determine the true cost of care and will provide a blueprint to drive service improvement and inform governmental support.
“A consultant has been employed and they have actually prepared a draft document, which has been submitted to the technical team, and we expect the final report at the end of this month,” he noted.
As of December 2016, the total number of children in the child-protection system stood at 4,574. Some 56 per cent are living in family environments, with 44 per cent living in residential childcare facilities.
This means that approximately six out of every 1,000 children in Jamaica are in the care of the State.
The child-protection sector has 51 children’s homes and nine places of safety. These places of safety are owned and operated by the Government through the Child Development Agency (CDA).