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CPFSA’s transitional living programme will continue – Gage-Grey

Published:Wednesday | December 9, 2020 | 12:05 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer
Rosalee Gage-Grey.
Rosalee Gage-Grey.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), says the Transitional Living Programme (TLP) for former wards of the state will continue, despite the formal programme with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) coming to an end this year.

While speaking at a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum, Gage-Grey said the initiative, which was funded by the USAID and managed by the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC) for the past six years, was to create a blueprint for the way forward to facilitate a smooth transition of state wards to independent living.

“The formal programme with USAID and the CCDC comes to an end this month. We had transitional living before but this project was to formalise and develop the standard operating procedures as to how we would treat with wards who are exiting care. We have a sustainability plan that we are actively pursuing,” said Gage-Grey.

“The programme will continue. We are doing a proposal now to formalise how we deal with wards over 18. Like any good parent, we can’t just put them out at 18, we have to make sure that they transition successfully,” continued Gage-Grey.

FRUITFUL PARTNERSHIP

While the old arrangement is no longer in place, Gage-Grey praised USAID and CCDC for what she described as a good and fruitful partnership.

“We are very proud of the project. We have seen this year, with our focus on recognising our students for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination, that many more children are matriculating into university and the support is going to be very critical going forward … to believe that education is going to be that driver for success. We thank USAID and CCDC for what was a very good and fruitful partnership,” Gage-Grey said

Moesha Williams, a former ward of the state, who is a part of the CPFSA’s Transitional Living Programme, said the initiative provides a chance to further education while having a place to call home.

“The programme is very important at this stage in our lives where we have to matriculate into the real world. Without this programme, we wouldn’t get a chance to further our education,” said Williams, a final-year student at Northern Caribbean University. “At 18, we would be adults and the system would not be responsible for us. However, this programme provides housing, food, and tuition. Without it, we would have to matriculate into the work world but with limited opportunity, having not gone to university or getting a skill, so we would be at a disadvantage.”

When asked about accommodation, Gage-Grey noted that it is one of the aspects of transition that they have always placed a lot of emphasis on over the years.

“We are seeking to build out the response to our youngsters who are exiting care, and accommodation is just one aspect. We have life skills, vocational skills training as well as mentorship. We are committed to providing them with the basic tools that they would need to be independent so not all our children will go into a housing project,” said Gage-Grey. “We have in the past and continue to provide support for them to rent their own premises, and where they are staying with family, assist in making their accommodation much more effective.”

The TLP initiative also gave birth to two transitional living apartment complexes in the Corporate Area.

editorial@gleanerjm.com