Child Development Agency (CDA)
The Child Development Agency (CDA) is the Executive Agency of the Ministry of Health which has responsibility for providing a stable and nurturing living environment for children who are in need of care and protection.
Intake & Investigation
The CDA receives and investigates reports of abuse, neglect and abandonment. The investigation process involves:
Determining the steps to be taken on a case by case basis,
Initiating contact between clients and other support services; and
Preparing reports on findings.
This includes assigning Children’s Officers to attend Children’s/Family Court who provides support for children appearing before the courts and preparing Social Enquiry Reports to support the process.
Monitoring of Police Lock-ups
This involves weekly monitoring visits to lock-ups to determine if there are children being held in these facilities and to ensure they are relocated.
The CDA provides for the medical, educational, safety, welfare and developmental needs of children living in residential child care facilities. There are sixty (60) residential child care facilities for which the CDA has regulatory responsibility - thirteen (12) are operated by the Government of Jamaica.
Living In Family Environments (LIFE) Programme- The LIFE programme is a strategic option of the Agency to prioritise the placement of children within families, as the preferred environment for their upbringing. The four (4) main components of the LIFE programme are:
Foster Care- A process that enables persons, who are not the biological parents of a child State care to raise and provide a nurturing environment for his/her physical, spiritual and emotional growth and development.
Family Reintegration- Reuniting and rehabilitating a child and his/her family, after a period of separation.
Adoption- The legal process of transferring the parental rights of a child’s biological parents to one who is desirous of creating a new and permanent parent/child relationship.
Supervision Order- The Court issues an order for a child to be placed with a family member under the supervision of a Children’s Officer.