Thursday, June 1, 2023
For Immediate Release
Child Diversion Programme Hailed as “Outstanding Success”
KINGSTON, Jamaica- Minister of Justice, the Hon. Delroy Chuck has hailed the National Child Diversion Programme as a success.
Minister Chuck made the pronouncement during the Child Diversion Programme’s inaugural Child Diversion Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingston on Thursday, May 18.
“The Programme has been an outstanding success. Since 2020, we have had 1,020 referrals, mainly from the courts…Almost 50 per cent of these referrals have been successfully completed and others are in progress. When it is successfully completed it means that the child has been mentored [and] the child may have got psychological support. At the end of the day, usually after about six months, the child diversion officer is able to return to court with the child and to indicate to the court…[that] the child is now back on the upright path,” said Minister Chuck.
Also speaking at the Forum was Minister of Education and Youth, the Hon. Fayval Williams who commended the Ministry for its visibility in the education sector and stated that Child Diversion works.
“We know that our children do get into trouble but should they be sent through the adult justice system? As a country, we have decided no, that we want a different pathway to restore them in a friendlier way. Still acknowledging that they have done something wrong but to restore over punishment because we know that the process of restoration brings good lessons with it and we have seen that it works,” she said.
The Forum was held in commemoration of Child Month under the theme ‘Redeeming our Children: Promoting Justice for Peace and Harmony’.
A number of secondary schools were represented at the Forum. The day’s activities included presentations from Child Diversion stakeholders namely, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency; National Council on Drug Abuse; UNICEF; and the Child Guidance Clinic. The children also benefitted from an engaging panel discussion.
The Child Diversion Programme, which began operation in 2020, is part of the recently established Social Justice Division at the Ministry. The Programme redirects children between 12 and 17 years from the criminal justice system. It implements measures for dealing with children, alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law without resorting to formal judicial proceedings.
Caption: Minister of Justice, the Hon. Delroy Chuck delivers the keynote address during the Ministry’s Inaugural Child Diversion Forum held on Thursday, May 18 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingston. Minister Chuck highlighted the success of the Child Diversion Programme, which was operationalized in 2020.
Caption: Students of the Charlie Smith High School along with their teacher strike a pose after the Child Diversion Inaugural Forum hosted by the Ministry of Justice’s Child Diversion Branch on Thursday, May 18, 2023. It was held in commemoration of Child Month under the theme ‘Redeeming our Children: Promoting Justice for Peace and Harmony’.