J'cans urged to host wards of the State for Christmas
The Child Development Agency (CDA) is appealing to Jamaicans to open their hearts and homes to wards of the State during the festive season. The agency's 'Take a Child Home for Christmas' programme is aimed at providing children in State care with the opportunity to experience the joy that the festive season brings.
Regional Director for the CDA's South East Region Robert Williams said the initiative by the CDA invites Jamaicans to take a child or two home for Christmas.
"These are normally children in state-run or privately owned facilities who we want to give the opportunity to spend this time of the year in a family setting," he said. There are some 4,700 children in 58 facilities across the island, and for more than 15 years, the CDA has been inviting Jamaicans to be part of the programme. Williams encouraged the citizens of Jamaica who are able to make a positive difference in a child's life this Christmas to reach out and be a part of that circle of care.
"Help to bring joy to their lives this Christmas because some of these children have no families outside of the care protection system," he said.
Public Relations and Communications Manager at the CDA Rochelle Dixon informed that for persons to qualify to participate in the programme, they must be Jamaicans with no criminal record.
"To apply, persons must fill out an application form and submit it along with valid identification, one passport-size photograph, two references from a notary public such as a justice of the peace, a pastor, a police (officer) at the level of a superintendent or above, and a school principal," she said. Dixon added that background checks on individuals who apply are done and there is also a home assessment.
"We go where the person lives to see what the setting is like and we also have to talk to all the persons who live in the home because we want to ensure that the children are placed in a suitable environment and that there is appropriate accommodation," she said.
Interested persons are being asked to apply now. Application forms can be accessed at the CDA website at www.cda.gov.jm, or persons may call 948-2841-2 or visit any of the CDA offices islandwide.