#Jamaica, November 21, 2017 – Kingston – The Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further improve the quality of services offered to vulnerable children and families.
The two-year MOU entails the establishment of a referral system that facilitates social interventions for persons who are assessed and determined to be vulnerable. They include current and former wards of the State; children remanded in government places of safety, pending court decisions; youngsters deemed at risk to be or who have been neglected, abused or maltreated by their families; and those on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).
The MOU was signed during a ceremony at CPFSA’s head office on Duke Street, Kingston, on November 17. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Collette Roberts-Risden, said the MOU will support the CPFSA’s delivery of much-needed assistance to the target beneficiaries.
“What we hope to achieve… is that any child in need of support, we will refer them to the CPFSA, and, similarly, any child in need of the programmes in our Ministry, the CPFSA will refer them to us,” she said.
Meanwhile, CPFSA Chief Executive Officer, Rosalee Gage-Grey, said the partnership will assist in strengthening the family structure.
“We can’t treat with children without treating with their families; and we believe that if we give greater support to our families, then the children will be OK. As we seek to build the family structure in our country, we want to ensure that the most vulnerable who, we both serve, are protected and provided with services in a timely manner. We see this partnership as very valuable,” she said.
The CPFSA, formerly the Child Development Agency (CDA), is the entity under the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information that is responsible for enabling a stable and nurturing living environment for children who are in need of care and protection.
The Agency was renamed following its merger with the Office of the Children’s Registry earlier this year.
This was done as part of the Ministry’s plans to create a more efficient child-protection sector with emphasis on the pooling of resources, timely service delivery, and increasing field services staff.