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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.