The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) South East Region is undertaking an initiative aimed at empowering boys in the childcare system.
Dubbed ‘Saving Our Boys’, the one-year programme, launched on July 25, is in response to the increasing number of boys in state care.
Saving Our Boys employs a variety of interventions, intending to foster positive behaviours and attitudes among the youth participants to achieve better outcomes.
These include empowerment sessions, extracurricular activities (sports, monthly field trips), as well as a mentorship component that seeks to assist participants in learning the skills to build healthy relationships and establish positive connections and attachments.
The programme is targeted at boys aged 10 to 17 years and those exiting childcare facilities to ensure a successful transition from state care to independent living, thereby reducing risk factors such as unemployment, substance abuse and involvement in crime.
“The boys are very different from the girls. They are internalising their issues. For example, if some of them have a situation of trauma that they can’t fully manage, they don’t talk about it. They will, instead, take to smoking and joining gangs,” Regional Director, CPFSA South East Region, Robert Williams, tells shared.
Children from the SOS Children’s Village, Maxfield Park Children’s Home and Sunbeam Boys’ Home have been participating in the sessions, the first of which took place in-house on July 25 at the Maxfield Park home and was attended by 19 boys.
The second was held virtually on November 21, with 26 boys in attendance.
The sessions are also attended by representatives from the CPFSA, members of the Kiwanis Young Professionals Kingston, as well as former wards of the state.