40 female wards to be placed in transitional home
Forty female wards of the state ages 18 to 21 years will soon call the recently completed independent living complex on Lady Musgrave Road in New Kingston, following the official opening of the facility on Tuesday.
Construction of the complex came after it was found that out of the approximately 700 young people discharged from Jamaica's child protection system annually, only about 290 are actually able to leave at 18 years old, according to information provided by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).
State minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green, told The Gleaner that the construction of the residence is based on evidence which shows that those who are transitioning from state care into the real world environment will have a hard time unless there is a clear transition process.
He said many former wards of the state have difficulty pursuing tertiary level studies after exiting the system.
"Sometimes they have difficulty in fulfilling their tertiary education because they need a place to stay. So we believe if we can provide them with a transitional home some where they won't have to end state care and live independently, then it will help them in that transitional period," Green said.
The construction of the complex is a part of a multi-agency project being implemented by the University of the West Indies and the CPFSA in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development.
BIGGER THAN HOME
"The programme is much bigger than the home. Part of it is about course training, skills training and life training. We partner with HEART Trust/NTA, [and] the CDA (Child Development Agency, now CPFSA) - even before they come into this home. We are going to be starting in our other homes in the system, training to ensure that self confidence is up, they know what to look for [in terms of] careers and what to choose in that transition," Green explained.
The initial plan was for the construction of one independent living complex, but two others are being constructed with one in Mona, St Andrew, and the other in Southfield, St Elizabeth.