Children with disabilities
Every child has the right to live in an inclusive world.
The extent to which children with disabilities can function, participate in society and lead fulfilling lives depends on the extent to which they are accommodated and included. No matter their story, every child has every right to thrive.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) defines living with a disability as having a long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment that – in interaction with the environment – hinders one’s participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Approximately 48,000 of the estimated 785,000 Jamaicans living with a form of disability have been registered within a social protection programme, with 35 per cent of those registered estimated to be children.
According to the most recent Public Expenditure Review (PER) on Social Protection in Jamaica conducted by the WorldBank (2019), there are 109,961 children living in poverty (26.6 per cent extreme poor) who are not covered by the flagship social protection programme and some 14,822 persons with disabilities living in poverty (34.9 per cent extreme poor) are also not covered.
Inequities experienced by persons with disabilities begin in the early childhood years. Disability has been associated with stigma and discrimination, as well as increased likelihood of family poverty and child vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.
Our Country Programme seeks to work closely with all of our partners to help children with disabilities in two key areas:
- Social protection: Accelerating key improvements to ensure that children have increased access to social protection programmes which are shock responsive, and adapted to the needs of families in poverty and children with disabilities.
- Education: Strengthening the system to deliver resilient, equitable, inclusive, quality and relevant services with a focus on vulnerable children including those with disabilities, children at risk of dropping out, out-of-school children and those affected by emergencies.
To achieve these goals, we work with various partners on different strategies such as:
- Data-led decisions: Ensure that demographic data on the population of persons with disabilities is more effectively and consistently captured to ensure an accurate representation of the population; and promote evidence-based policy development and targeted interventions.
- System strengthening: Support the development of ICT and Case Management Systems consistent with industry standards, through private-public partnerships; and Public Finance Management to inform national policies and processes to speed up efforts to bridge the existing social exclusion gap.
- Child rights: Collaborate with partners to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are protected.
- Capacity building: Build capacity of teachers in inclusive pedagogical approaches at all levels of the system.
- Provision: Provide accessible digital teaching materials and pathways for school to work transition for young persons with disabilities.
- System Strengthening: Establish a fully functioning Education Management Information System (EMIS) to facilitate improved data collection beginning with a national Early Screening, Identification and Referral (ESIR) pathway, as well as timely analysis and decision making.