The Women’s Centre Programme for Adolescent Mothers was established in 1978 in response to the high level of teenage pregnancy experienced by the country. In 1991, the Programme gained Foundation status, thus being named the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF). The organization operates as a Limited Liability Company under the auspices of a government ministry; presently the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport. Initially, there was one centre located at 42 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10. The Foundation has since expanded to include 7 main centres and 11 outreach stations, island wide.
Outreach stations operate under the supervision of a main centre, and usually, do not deliver the full slate of the activities of the Programme for Adolescent Mothers. Steps are currently being taken to remedy this inequity. Nonetheless, the island wide expanse of the WCJF locations, ensures ease of access to either a main centre or its outreach station, which is usually in the adjoining parish.
The Foundation offers the following services through its main centres and outreach stations:
1. Continuing education for adolescent mothers 17 years and under
2. Counselling for “baby fathers”, their parents and parents of adolescent mothers
3. Day Care facilities for (i) babies of adolescent mothers and (ii) babies of working mothers
4. “Walk-in” counselling service for women and men of all ages
5. Peer Counselling training for in-school youths
6. Counselling for clients in the Child Diversion Programme
The Programme for Adolescent Mothers is the core of the activities of the Foundation. The mandate of the WCJF therefore, is to provide continuing education for girls who drop out of school on account of a pregnancy. Since inception, the WCJF has assisted 46,989 adolescent mothers.
The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, through its commitment to the improvement of educational attainment and Adolescent Reproductive Health, strives to promote a holistic approach to services and information for the youth of our nation.
The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, an agent for innovative change, has particular responsibility for promoting a new approach to problems associated with teenage pregnancy, especially in the area of interrupted education.
The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation focuses on education, training and developmental counselling, by this means improving levels of employment and productivity among our young and delay unwanted pregnancy
- To develop and implement a system for the mandatory reintegration of school-aged mothers into the formal school system.
- To institute a school-based system for referral and monitoring of pregnant students, in partnership with the WCJF’s Programme for Adolescent Mothers.
- To create a framework for integrating and expanding the support services available to assist school-aged mothers to complete their education.
- To increase public awareness of the right of schoolaged mothers to an education and the need to reduce incidents of teen pregnancy.
- To increase institutional acceptance of mandatory reintegration of school
To provide continuing education for girls who have dropped out of the formal school system due to a pregnancy and return them to the formal school system after the birth of their babies.
1. To delay early second pregnancies
2. To relieve the negative effects of a first pregnancy
3. To return girls to the formal school system for completion of secondary education
The WCJF provides outreach services to adolescent mothers who are unable to reach main centres.
Education and skills training is the WCJF’s main focus in order to improve levels of employment and productivity among Jamaica’s youth.
The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) embraces the worth of strategic partnerships in the delivery of its mission and mandate.
The Adolescent Resource Centre (ARC) is a friendly space that addresses the wide and varied health needs of youth. The ARC also provides intensive individual and group counselling in health and family life education.