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CPFSA opening doors for wards of the State

Published:Thursday | April 4, 2019 | 12:00 AMKavarly Arnold

The offices of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) in western Jamaica says it will be placing renewed emphasis on having wards of the state better prepared to make the transition into the world of work and independent living when they leave state care.

Last Thursday, the CPFSA hosted its Regional Exiting Transitional Living Programme expo at the Holy Trinity Church hall, in Montego Bay. It was staged under the theme ‘Take Action, Build Resilience, Transition with Confidence.’

Several critical stakeholders, such as the National Council on Drug Abuse, HEART Trust/NTA, and the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), were present to partner with the CPFSA as it sought to empower the young people in attendance.

The programme, which generated rave reviews from the participants, impacted 75 youngsters between 16 and 18 years old from the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland. At least 58 wards of the State were processed by the PICA representatives.


Eric Vassell, acting regional director for CPFSA (west), said that the objective of the agency was to ensure that every child leaving state care was equipped to transition into independent living.

“This drive is to ensure that all children that are exiting state care will have access to all these amenities so that they can squarely fit into the world of work and independent living. Our plan is for them to have their passport, TRN, NIS, and other documents.

“We had 75 persons who attended the expo, and 58 were processed for passports,” said Vassell. “There are several others who do not have a passport and we will be working to have them get passports as well.”

According to Vassell, the documents for persons who had not been processed by PICA would be handled at the various parish levels, after which the information would be sent to the CPFSA regional office.

“Upon the return of the documents, arrangements will be made for the wards to get the process completed at the PICA office. Even now, since we have had the expo, eight others have processed their passports,” said Vassell.