Over 3,000 children placed in LIFE programme
KINGSTON, Jamaica — About 3,005 children were placed in the Living in Family Environment (LIFE) programmes between January and September 2012.
According to chief executive officer of the Child Development Agency (CDA) Carla Francis Edie, of the 3,005 children, 985 are in foster care; 802 are in the family re-integration programme; and 1,220 are on supervision orders.
She explained that under the supervision orders, the judge instructs that a child in need of protection should remain at home with a parent or relative under the supervision of a CDA children’s officer.
As the CDA worked to place children in a family environment as an alternative to childcare institutions, Edie informed that there were 141 adoptions between January and September 2012.
In addition, two Child and Family Support Units (CSFU) were established at the CDA’s regional offices in Kingston and St James to provide the necessary interventions to families to prevent children from entering state care.
“The CDA’s social workers provide counseling to families going through challenges and connect these families with other support services, such as PATH (Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education),” she said.
She said that of the 519 children seen by the CDA, only 13 remained in state care while the other 506 remained with their families or relatives.
In addition, some 881 children were processed under the multi-agency model programme as at September 2012, with 832 of those children remaining with their families.
“Previously these children would have been placed in residential child care facilities,” Edie informed.
The multi-agency model is a partnership involving the police, the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), CDA, Victim Support Unit, Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) and the Office of the Children’s Advocate.
It was developed to reduce secondary trauma to children, who have been abused, and also lessen the number of children entering state care.