Barrington Flemming – Staff Reporter
- Youth seeking change in lifestyle
The introduction of the State of Public Emergency in St. James since January this year, has sparked a run on the offices of the Citizens Security and Justice Programme, CSJP, which is reporting a sharp increase in the number of at-risk youths seeking its services.
Adenike Stephenson, Regional Case Management Coordinator with the CSJP, told the Western Mirror that they are seeing a sharp increase in the number of young people coming to the office requesting to be placed in training programmes and to be certified.
“These young people do not want to be caught up in the SOPE. So, what we have found is that these young people are eager to change their lifestyle and to turn away from certain activities and improve their livelihood. So, they generally ask about remedial programmes, subjects, CXC, scholarship and skills training programmes to really empower them,” Stephenson explained.
They are pushing to get themselves in a position to receive a certificate and to become employable.
She also indicated that the number of referrals from the court, churches and other stakeholders’ organizations have also been on the increase with the number of daily referrals surpassing 20.
Stephenson added that they have also been receiving referrals from schools with the majority of the cases relating to behavioural problems.
“We are seeing children being referred from schools; with most of these for behavioural issues- requiring counseling or parenting intervention. We also have to deal with the trauma cases and matters relating to psychological assessment and treatment.”
The CSJP Regional Case Management Coordinator says, however, that unlike St. James, the parish of Westmoreland, which has seen a steady increase in murders and violent crimes, has registered a mere marginal increase in the number of youth coming forward to access the services of the CSJP.
She says, however, that while the core areas for the CSJP in Westmoreland have been Russia and Whitehall, the government would be making targeted interventions into the troubled Grange Hill community.
The Regional Case Management Coordinator also revealed that the Violence Interruption programme has been introduced in Hanover, covering six communities as they seek to bring about changes in that parish.
“People do not change overnight, but we realize that the demand for the service in the parish is great.”
The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) is a multi-faceted crime- and violence-prevention programme jointly funded through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and a grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
The CSJP, which was introduced in 2001, is now in its third and final stage and is scheduled to come to an end in 2019.