Social Investment in Caribbean Children: A Preliminary Discussion

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Aldrie Henry-Lee


This introductory chapter to this special issue is mainly to be used as a platform for further discussion on social investment in the Caribbean. It is expected that academics, students and child advocates will further develop the debate on the theory and practice of social investment in children in developing countries, especially in the Caribbean. The ideas here are consequently to be treated as preliminary and a stimulus for debate in any forum, be it classroom or a conference. The following topics are examined in this introduction: Social Investment: Theory and Practice; International and Regional Frameworks; Why Invest in Children? Benefits of Social Investment in Children; Social Investment in Children in the Caribbean; The Way Forward. The basic argument put forward in this paper is that investment in children while a wise economic activity also has qualitative benefits. All investments do not need to be costly. Time spent with children listening to an account of their day at school is also an " investment" for which we may not always be able to estimate the returns, but for which the positive impacts on the child, the family and the society could be long term. Therefore, the current "selling point" for investing in children for their futuristic economic value needs to also include their "present" qualitative utility to the society as important members of families and social groups.

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Author Biography

Aldrie Henry-Lee

Sociologist, Senior Fellow, Lecturer, SALISES, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica. Her areas of research interests include poverty, crime
and children.