Government to review residential care sector
The Government is to conduct a strategic review of the residential-care sector aimed at improving the outcomes for all children.
"We are looking at the whole pie - the disparity between financial support of the Government homes and private homes - to see how we can ensure that our children are able to access the best possible service," said Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green.
Making his contribution to the 2016-17 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Green said when completed, the review would provide an outline of the gaps and factors affecting the sector and the resources needed to ensure an effective, efficient, and modernised residential sector.
It is expected that the review will be finished by December, in time to influence discussions regarding allocations for next year's Budget.
Since assuming responsibility, the state minister has undertaken familiarisation tours of various residential-care facilities.
He has also met with some members of the Private Children's Home Association and discussed some of the critical issues such as insufficiency of funding.
He added that a team at the Child Development Agency (CDA) has been asked to explore areas in which the Government can provide immediate assistance to help private homes alleviate some of the financial burden.
"It has been agreed that the disaster-management grant that is normally provided to the Government homes will be extended to our private homes as well this year. We also will be standardising the payment of the medical expenses of all our children in State care, whether Government or privately run homes," Green said.
He added that steps would be taken by the CDA to enhance its efficiency and to do more in working with agencies of the State such as the Jamaica Constabulary Force to ensure that guidelines were followed, especially in relation to treating with matters relating to the abuse of children.