Jamaica formulating policy to deal with street children

The Government of Jamaica is looking to address the problem of street children through the establishment of a multisectoral body named The Street and Working Children Task Force.

Ministry of Education Youth and Information Fayval Williams made the disclosure while speaking at a post cabinet press briefing on Wednesday (June 23).

According to Williams, the findings of a recent study tabled in cabinet will compliment the task force that is expected to help reduce the number of children living on the nation’s streets.

“The multisectoral body will oversee the implementation of the framework of action in order to cauterize and significantly reduce the prevalence of children living and working on the streets in Jamaica,” said Williams.

“Children working on the streets is indicative of a lifestyle of significant risk. The last survey on this vulnerable population was undertaken at a time that predated the passage of the Child Care and Protection Act in 2004- that was seventeen years ago. The purpose of this study is to determine factors that serve to predispose children to living and working on the street, inclusive of trafficking victims that may be invisible and to identify gaps in the provision of care and social protection services that could impede an effective response to addressing the street children,” added Williams.

It is estimated that approximately 1,140 and 2,800 children live and work on the streets in Jamaica.