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State Care for Children in Jamaica: Governance, Accountability and Quality of Care

Reports of abuse and sub-standard living conditions have come to typify characterisations of state care in Jamaica. These reports raise the question if the removal of a child in crisis to state care, particularly to a residential facility, actually furthers their best interests. 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, their rights are being abused, 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. What is it about Jamaica’s management of its care for children in its custody why the evidence return these conclusions? This report focuses on state care for children, with a focus on residential care as provided in facilities and the governance and management structures that shape, administer and oversee the state’s provision of care for children in need.