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Jamaica using social investment to fight crime, says minister Chang

By Garfield L. Angus

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (GIS) – The government of Jamaica is committed to a social investment framework that focuses on identifying and tackling the root causes of the anti-social behaviours that form the basis for many violent engagements and criminal activity; minister of national security, Dr Horace Chang, gave the declaration as he delivered the keynote address at the International Social Care Services Social Work Conference on Tuesday, March 19 at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew.

Minister Chang said the administration is proceeding with a Citizen Security Plan that involves collaboration and coordination among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), to deliver social invention and crime-prevention programmes in vulnerable communities.

Among the MDAs are the ministries of labour and social security, education and youth, health and wellness, and the HEART/NSTA Trust. Through the ‘Violence Prevention in Targeted Vulnerable Communities and Schools in Jamaica’ Programme, the government is embarking on a major social investment initiative, aimed at curtailing crime and violence in vulnerable schools and communities across Jamaica.

The initiative is being undertaken through support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and involves nine communities and 22 schools. There is also an Inter-Ministerial School Support Strategy that is being done in collaboration with the ministry of education and youth, through which at-risk students are targeted for early and strategic intervention.

“Through this initiative, we have identified 34 primary and high schools and have engaged 300 students through case management services provided by the Ministry’s case managers,” Dr Chang said, noting that institutionalising the case management processes is a central component of the crime-prevention efforts.

“We now have 15 case managers on staff. Admittedly, this is a moderate start; however, we have put provisions in place to ensure steady and consistent expansion,” he said.



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