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Youth in State Care receive Starter Kits as they prepare to exit care

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‘Starter Kits’ were presented to 56 youth in State care during the Child Development Agency’s National Children’s Summit held on 23rd August, 2017 at the Jamaica Centre, Kingston. The youth who completed their vocational skills training programmes under the Transitional Living for Children in State Care Project (TLP-CSC) received these kits with the support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

As a part of the project, 400 youth are to receive Starter Kits which include a selection of items that will assist them in daily life once they leave their foster homes or residential facilities. The aim is to help the youth to identify the essential personal effects such as soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. that they will need to purchase for themselves regularly once they live independently. All important documents including birth certificate, TRN card and passport are also being processed for these youth to be a part of their Starter kits. A waterproof document holder was also included. The kits are packaged in back packs sourced from a Jamaican manufacturer ‘Bresheh’.

The TLP-CSC project is a six year project that was initiated in 2014, supported by USAID with the aim to improve the independent living outcomes for children in State care through direct interventions with youth and the strengthening of the capacity of the Child Development Agency (CDA) to prepare youth for the transition from care to independent living.

Mrs. Ceceile Minott, Head (Ag.), Caribbean Child Development Centre at The University of the West Indies Open Campus and the Project Manager for the TLP-CSC project, explained that the project uses a multi-dimensional approach to preparing wards of the State to transition into independent living and is being implemented through the collaborative efforts of The University of the West Indies Open Campus and the Child Development Agency.

Mr. Andrew Colburn, Director of the Office of Citizen Security of USAID/Jamaica, said, “The project is extremely timely and has the potential to make a significant difference to youth in State care in Jamaica”, emphasizing further in addressing the youth, “it aims to ensure, as you cross the threshold of State care to a new beginning and a new phase of your life, each one of you transitions to a brighter future…a future that is filled with promises and hope.”

In her concluding notes, Ms. Audrey Budhi, Director of Children and Family Programmes, CDA added that this programme ensures that these young adults are being exposed to the right services at the right time, in order for them to transition successfully into independent living. Additionally, they will receive coaching, mentorship and training in a vocational skill as well as safe spaces for transitional living. The kits also include a handbook with a directory of services for the youth which will help strengthen their self-reliance and independent skills.