News

Gov't to spend $1.5 billion on children in state care

BY CANDIESE LEVERIDGE Online reporter leveridgec@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 | 1:12 PM    

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THE Ministry of Youth and Culture plans to spend over $1.5 billion dollars on interventions for the well-being of the nation's children.

Speaking this morning at the Jamaica House Press Briefing, Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna, said that her ministry will be working with The Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) to improve the living conditions of children in state care.

"When we first got in I realised there was a significant problem with the children's homes, there wasn't enough space," she said.

A total of $658 million will be spent on public and private children homes, $292 million is to go to places of safety and $75.3 million for maintenance grants to children in foster care.

Hanna said the Government has approved an increased stipend of $60 million to be granted to private children's homes.

Also two salaried workers from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse (CISOCA) have been hired to assist the police with counselling abused children. These workers will also have the responsibility of finding suitable families for the children while their cases are before the Court.

"This has kept over 1,116 children out of the state residential facilities and has saved the state $201 million. We spend an average of $12,000 per child per week in state care," Hanna said.

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