KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, says an integrated strategy for case management and psychosocial support may well be the difference between adding an additional case manager to prevent a child from falling into a life of crime.
His remarks follow yesterday’s presentation of findings of the Needs Assessment for Case Management and Psychosocial Services geared toward children, youth and victims of intimate partner violence who will benefit from the main interventions.
“Social investment activities must be relevant,” Dr Chang said, while pointing out that for any such undertaking to have the desired impact, it must be data-driven with empirical monitoring.
He explained that close to 14,000 children and adolescents across Jamaica require case management, and an additional 500 need attention from medical professionals including psychologists and psychiatrists.
He added that the government’s focus on getting social investment right does not take away from the need for a strong, professional, highly-trained, intelligence-driven and technologically savvy police force.
“Transformational change can only be achieved within a safe, secure and peaceful environment in which everyone can enjoy basic rights without fear, where they can feel comfortable to work and raise families and seek to achieve their dreams and ambitions,” Dr Chang said.
Last year, the Government shifted policy focus from social intervention to social investment in a strategic effort to drive positive change to socioeconomically challenged communities.
The minister explained that the new strategy was designed to ensure public funds and Government services reach vulnerable communities and ensure transformation in personal and professional lives across communities.
He said he is pleased that progress is being made in opening up the door to address the critical issues affecting Jamaica’s youth population, specifically those residing in volatile spaces.
In discussing the findings of the report, Dr Chang said they have provided both quantitative and qualitative evidence of what has long been known that there is a dire need for a more specialised approach to social investment initiatives targeted at youth at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violent crime.
He noted further that steps are being taken to advance public discourse and participation in the Citizen Security Plan, which involves an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the risk factors of crime including a 25-School Strategy and similar approaches to train, certify and recruit at-risk youth.
“It is my hope that our efforts and the contribution of us all will provide the protective factors that provide inclusivity and turn the tides towards creating a safe and healthy Jamaica,” Dr Chang continued.
The report, which is funded by the European Union, spans five Zones of Special Operations for communities in Kingston and St Andrew and St James.