More than 1,900 children diverted from State care

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Child and Family Support Unit (CFSU) of the Child Development Agency (CDA) has implemented strategies to successfully divert 1,901 children from becoming wards of the State.

Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, Team Leader at the CDA and Overseer in the Child Support Unit, Jean Duhaney, indicated that since the start of the year, there have been 1,924 cases where interventions took place.

Of that number, she noted that 23 children ended up in State care.

“One of the major reasons why some children end up in State care facilities is the lack of information, especially as it relates to alternative disciplinary measures,” said Duhaney.

She noted that the main thrust of the Diversion Programme, which began in 2009, is to keep these children who are at risk of being abused from ending up in State care facilities.

The preferred alternative, she said, is to keep them within their family setting while providing the necessary training support to the families to deal with the challenges that they face.

Duhaney also pointed out that there is need for parents or caregivers to unearth the underlying factors influencing deviant behaviour in children in an effort to properly address the issues.

She indicated that there are cases where frustrated parents have come in to the CFSU to complain about children displaying maladaptive behaviours, and insisted on leaving the children in their offices because they are uncertain of what to do under the circumstances.
She informed that the Unit has been able to empower such parents through exposure to alternative behaviour-modification strategies, and the situations have greatly improved.

In the meantime, Duhaney also noted that during the summer break, children who would have otherwise been unengaged and prone to mischief, benefited from a summer camp organised by the CFSU.

They were engaged in various activities such as music, dance, drama, drawing, painting and sewing, among other things.

Duhaney told JIS News that at the end of the camp, children received back-to school packages, which assisted in alleviating some of the financial pressure on the parents.

Individuals, who are in need of intervention or support from the CFSU, may visit the office at 40 Duke Street, Kingston, or call 948-1145.

Duhaney also made an appeal for persons wanting to lend their support to the programme through volunteerism, or in any other way, to make contact with the CFSU.




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