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CAPRI Investigates the Quality of Care for Children in State Care

CAPRI’s  undertaking  of  the  UNICEF  Situation  Analysis  of  Children  in  Jamaica  in 2018  brought  home  to  us  that  in  some  areas  youth  are  a  subset  of  the  general population  and  face  many  of  the  same  problems  that  all  Jamaicans  face,  but  that almost  without  exception,  the  problems  are  exacerbated  in  their  effects  on  children, and they have challenges that are unique to their age and vulnerability.

Reports   of   abuse   and   sub-standard   living   conditions   have   come   to   typify characterizations  of  state  care  in  Jamaica. The  removal  of  a  child  in  crisis  to  state care,  particularly  in  a  residential  facility,  it  appears,  is  often no  improvement  on  the situation  from  which  they  were  removed.  There  are  an  estimated  4,600  children  in state care in Jamaica, ranging from age 0 -18. If these children are being as ill-served as  the  extant  research  suggests,  they  will  be  ill-equipped  as  adults  to  participate  in social,  civic,  political  and  economic  life,  and  are  unlikely  to  have  the  capacity  to  be contributing members of society.

CAPRI in partnership with the EU, with Ms. Leanne Levers, will  assess  the  standard  of  care  provided  to  wards  of  the  state  and  will examine ways in which the care of children in state custody can be improved, or what alternatives  might  exist  that  would  better  meet  the  needs  of  children  in  crisis. This research will address the gaps in the state child care system that fail to prepare wards of  the  state  to  be  capable,  productive  adult  citizens  who  can  contribute  to  their nation’s development.

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