Sat | Dec 3, 2022

Jamaicans urged to support Take a Child Home for Christmas programme

Published:Thursday | November 24, 2022 | 5:09 PM
Through the Take a Child Home for the Holiday initiative, Jamaicans are being encouraged to open their homes to wards of the State. - File photo

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) is appealing to Jamaicans to support its 'Take a Child Home for Christmas' and 'Grant a Wish' programmes during the Yuletide season.

These programmes target children who are in State care, whether they are housed at facilities or in foster care.

Director of Children and Family Programmes at the CPFSA, Warren Thompson, told JIS News that especially during the Christmas season, the agency tries to promote normality for the children by giving them an opportunity to have a Christmas experience outside of the facility setting.

Through the Take a Child Home for the Holiday initiative, Jamaicans are being encouraged to open their homes to wards of the State.

“This is part of our overall goal of placing children, as best as possible, in a family environment. The aim is to move away from institutionalisation. So, when we can do that even on a short-term basis, we try to facilitate this through the Take a Child Home for the Holiday Programme,” Thompson explained.

To participate in this programme, individuals will be required to fill out an application form, submit it along with two passport-size photographs and two letters of recommendation from a Justice of the Peace and a Minister of Religion.

According to Thompson, these individuals must also be well respected in their communities, 25 years or older, gainfully employed and have a safe home suitable to accommodate the child.

Application forms can be accessed online at www.childprotection.gov.jm or at any of the CPFSA offices islandwide.

The Grant a Wish programme was conceptualised during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the lockdown.

Under this initiative each child in State care was able to say what they would like to have for Christmas.

“A list was populated, and persons were invited to select from the list, items they would want to donate to a child,” Thompson said.

He added that interested persons were also given the option to donate cash.

He pointed out that due to the success of the Grant a Wish Programme, the decision was taken to run both programmes simultaneously this year.

“There will always be children who are not able to go into a family environment, but we want them to enjoy even a gift,” Thompson said.

To participate, persons are being asked to visit the CPFSA website at www.childprotection.gov.jm and select the Grant a Wish option and follow the instructions.

Deadline for the donation of gifts is December 9 at 3:00 p.m.

To send cash persons should send an email to info@childprotection.gov.jm and indicate that they wish to donate funds.

Corporate entities that wish to target a childcare facility may also contact the CPFSA at info@childprotection.gov.jm to indicate the facility they want to support.

“The Christmas season is a time of good cheer and festivities, when people's goodwill usually comes out. And one very important way of showing goodwill is by doing something to contribute to the enhancement of the life of a child who is in care who may be deprived of a family environment,” Mr. Thompson said.

“So, I am encouraging persons to share their Christmas by accommodating a child or enhance the Christmas experience of a child by donating a gift. I think every Jamaican can play a part by ensuring that all our children, including those in State care, have a good holiday season,” he added.

- JIS News

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