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CPFSA’s ICT project gets major boost with computer donation

Published:Friday | January 21, 2022 | 12:07 AMSharlene Hendricks/Staff Reporter
Education and Youth Minister Fayval Williams (right) accepts the donation of one of 500 laptops from the Transformation Implementation Unit’s Trudy-Ann James during the handover ceremony at the corporate offices of the Childcare Protection and Family Ser
Education and Youth Minister Fayval Williams (right) accepts the donation of one of 500 laptops from the Transformation Implementation Unit’s Trudy-Ann James during the handover ceremony at the corporate offices of the Childcare Protection and Family Services on Wednesday, January 19.

A total of 500 laptops donated to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) forms part of the agency’s push to expand its information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, which is expected to positively impact children housed at residential childcare facilities across the island.

Funded to the tune of US$324,000 by the Inter-American Development Bank, through the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU) of the Ministry of Finance, the devices are intended to bolster the CPFSA’s data-gathering efforts in relation to issues affecting the nation’s children, as well as to support wards of the state now engaged in remote learning.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the agency’s corporate office on Wednesday, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams signalled that other key deliverables will follow under the CPFSA’s ICT upgrade project, in furtherance of “the modernisation of the agency’s operations”.

“We see this as a way of helping to make the job a little lighter in terms of data collection, and also to help our children who must continue to learn,” said Williams.

EXPANSION PLANS

The minister indicated that the expansion will include an upgrade of the agency’s call centre, which has been tasked to field calls from the recently established 211 child-abuse hotline that has been credited for a significant increase in reported cases of child abuse since its launch in September last year.

“That’s the latest in its arsenal of items that Jamaicans can use to report child abuse. But beyond calling the number, what is important is that we have the infrastructure working in the background to take the calls as soon as they come in; one ring ideally for the person who is taking that call to get the necessary help and intervention that is needed without allowing too much time to pass,” said Williams.

The agency’s ICT expansion will also see the provision of a mobile mental health unit, the automation of the National Children’s Registry, as well as the roll-out of the Child Case Management System.

Other donations will include psychological tools, software, sensory equipment for five nurseries, including the Muirton Boys’ Home.

CPFSA CEO Rosalie Gage-Grey, in her remarks, indicated that the expansion of the agency’s ICT infrastructure had strengthened its ability to respond to the needs of children in State care.

“Under the project, there has been much development of our ICT infrastructure, as well as auxiliary support that has bolstered our capacity to deliver enhanced, therapeutic services to our clients. Additionally, this project has directly impacted the lives of our children, by providing devices to aid in their educational achievement.

“We are appreciative of this recent donation of the 500 laptops, as this will go a far way in assisting our children, especially our older children who are preparing for exams and those in our sixth-form programme as they continue to manoeuvre online learning amid the pandemic,” said Gage-Grey.

sharlene.hendricks@gleanerjm.com