The tertiary education of children exiting State care will be fully funded by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), through its Transitional Living Programme (TLP).
This was noted by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, at the agency’s Transitional Living Expo for the Western and Northeast Regions, at the St. John Methodist Church Hall in Montego Bay, St. James, on July 19.
“There is a guarantee that once you matriculate to university or college, we will pay those tuition fees for you, so all you have to do is pass the exams and get into college, and the rest we will take care of,” the CEO said.
Mrs. Gage-Grey added that through the TLP, the CPFSA wants to ensure that the children in State care are prepared to take their rightful place in society.
“Whatever you want to be, we want to ensure that you are prepared to transition from our care. We want to prepare you for whatever, so if you want to go to college, if you want to do some skills, whatever it is, we are here for that support for you,” she pointed out.
Under the TLP, youngsters are exposed to different pathways to aid their readiness for independent living. These include life skills, coaching, entrepreneurship, vocational and technical skills training, house accommodation for two years, and tertiary enrolment.
Wards unable to transition directly into tertiary programmes after leaving State care are provided with the opportunity to participate in the agency’s Transition to Work Programme under the vocational skills component of the project.
This is done through private-public partnerships at tertiary institutions, including the University of the West Indies Open Campus, The Mico University, and St. Joseph’s Teachers’ college.
The expo was held as part of a series of events commemorating Transitional Living Week 2022, observed from July 18 to July 22.
It was aimed at sensitising about 700 children in State care, between 16 and 18 years old, as well as the public, to the agency’s TLP, highlighting its role and achievements in helping children to transition successfully from State care into adulthood.
For his part, Director of Programmes at the CPFSA, Warren Thompson, said the programme seeks to ensure that persons transitioning from State care have access to their education and achieve something and “in terms of your education, we want to know that you are alright while you are going to school”.
“So, we pay your tuition; if you are living on campus, we pay your boarding; if we need to find housing for you, we try to find housing for you, we pay rent for some people; we have some transitional living homes where some youngsters apply for housing and are accommodated there. So, we are there to support you,” Mr Thompson added.
Some of the services offered at the expo included passport, birth certificate and tax registration number (TRN) processing, bank account processing, HEART/NSTA Trust application processing, and free eye testing.
Organisations represented at the expo were the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Tax Administration Jamaica, National Commercial Bank (NCB), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and Broadbent Eyewear.