JIS: The Education, Youth and Information Ministry will introduce a mentorship programme later this year to guide youth exiting State care.
Education Minister of State, Hon. Floyd Green, said these youth will be peered with mentors, who will receive ideas from them and, in turn, provide them with feedback.
Mr. Green was speaking at the third staging of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) National Exiting Care Expo, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on April 26.
Noting that a few mentors have already been chosen for the programme, Mr. Green appealed to corporate Jamaica for support by organising their staff into mentorship groupings to assist the children.
“Additionally, I believe (this) is a great opportunity to work with our universities (and) other tertiary centres to use their tertiary students to help us develop a mentorship corps to work with our children who are transitioning,” he said.
The State Minister assured the 600-odd students in family integration and residential childcare facilities that their progress will be tracked.
“Even though a number of you are leaving State care, we do not want you to believe that you have left the family. Despite the difficulties and experiences, we stand here as a family to support you and to provide guidance and to work with you to ensure that you are successful in life,” he said.
Mr. Green charged the students to set goals and “write down the steps you will take to achieve your dream, as writing down your dreams works”.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, said that her agency believes in the holistic development of the children in its care.
She said the purpose of the Expo was to ensure that the children “have a solid foundation as they transition into independent living”.
“We (also) want you to be confident about your preparation for independent living. We know that some of you are facing this reality with anxiety and great expectations, and we want to ensure that where there is doubt, we erase that, and where there are fears and anxiety, we will prepare you for taking the next step,” she said.
Held under the theme ‘Inspire. Succeed. Win’, the National Exiting Care Expo targets those between ages 17 and 18 for independent living.
During the course of the one-day event, the youngsters were exposed to a variety of services from several organisations, as well as information on career planning, self-development, financial management, health and lifestyle and living arrangements, as they transition from State care to adulthood.
CAPTION: State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green (centre), converses with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey (left), at the agency’s National Exiting Care Expo held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on April 26. At right is Executive Assistant at the CPFSA, Deverline Burrell Wallen.