Civil society and law enforcement agencies specializing in youth justice, are resuming discussions to enhance the management, design, and implementation of programs and strategies geared towards positive social changes for the youth.
Funded by USAID and overseen by the OECS Commission under the OASYS project, the aim of the national workshop underway in Saint Lucia and five other OECS territories is to conduct a Child Justice and Child Care (Protection and Adoption) Legislative Review.
The deliberative exercise will also attempt to Select Programmatic interventions for Diversion, Rehabilitation, After Care, and Reintegration for inclusion in the National Work Plan, strategy, and future Court Registers; and Consider the Review of the Draft Juvenile Justice Policy for adaptation.
“We want to start pushing the implementation and we need to get this done to get our legislative drafting happening and get our policy frameworks in place because while we have law we need the other structures around it to be able to implement. More importantly, if we are going to be changing child and youth justice in the region then we need programs to support it,” noted Ms. Shihini Gravalis – Technical Specialist (OASYS)
The Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, which has oversight for several institutions catering to vulnerable and at-risk youth like the Boys Training Centre, the Upton Gardens Girls Centre, and the Transit Home, is the OASYS national collaborating partner.
With an overall goal of transformation of the Youth Justice System across member states through support for diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration, Permanent Secretary Dr. Charmaine Hippolyte Emmanuel says the national dialogue is opportune in the face of an escalating crime situation and other anti-social and deviant behaviors among young people.
“Importantly, as stakeholders, you will be contributing to social protection engagements as we seek to address the needs of vulnerable populations with a focus on our children and youth at risk. Our social protection policy addresses preventive, promotive, protective, and transformative aspects of social development, thus successful project development and implementation of the OECS OASYS project forms part of the social protection landscape among the myriad of existing ones,” noted Hippolyte Emmanuel.
The Opportunity to Advance and Support Youth for Success (OASYS) project, build on the many successes achieved under the 2012-2022 Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) and will run until 2026.
SOURCE: Ministry of Equity, Social Justice & Empowerment