Preparing Jamaican Children in State Care for Independent Living: A Situation Analysis

Priya Anaokar, Kathi-Ann Thomas, Joan Thomas, Ceceile Minott, Marva Campbell and Julie Meeks Gardner - Global Perspectives

This chapter from the book Global Perspectives discusses the challenges young people in Jamaica face as they age out of care.  The researchers review three Jamaican studies, which highlight challenges for young people, service providers and policy makers.  The reviews found that while there are state mechanisms in place, more needs to be done to ensure these mechanisms are followed.

Per this chapter, children and young people in state-run residential care institutions face many challenges.  Many face poorer outcomes when transitioning into independence than those who were not in care.  They face deficits in training and education.  They tend to have poorer mental and physical health.

Independent Living Programs may help youth leaving the public care system.  The reviewers state that studies reported positive outcomes for ILP participants.

Per the reviewers, the highlighted studies emphasized a need to prepare children for life after care.  The reviewers noted a lack of technical capacity for young people facing transition into independence.  One study noted that over half the young people surveyed wanted to continue education and training, but were concerned how they would manage in the outside world.

The chapter states that the Child Development Agency is aware of the challenges noted in this chapter and support including “continuing education, accommodation, jobs, other opportunities for self-advancement.”

The chapter provides initiatives to prepare children for independent living.  These initiatives include: a) Exodus Transitioning Programme; b) Transitional Housing Facilities; c) Vocational Skills Training Programmes; and d) Life Skills Programmes, among others.