Problem Faced By Children In The Society

No. 60 Monday, March 1, 2010
The Children's Advocate said two weeks ago, a team from her office visited the Freeport Police Lock up in Montego Bay, St. James where 21 children were observed in four cells.

   In cell one, the four boys who were placed there were only allowed to use the bathroom once a day.
   According to the children's advocate, all 21 children were on 24-hour lock down because there was no staff to monitor them outside.
   It was also found that because of the limited space, children committing major and minor crimes and those deemed to be uncontrollable are placed together.
   These conditions are against the minimum standards of the United Nations and the local Child Care and Protection Act.
   It was also found that there was no provision for the children to continue their education and that their sleeping arrangements were cruel and inhumane.
   To make matter worse, some children are not taken to court within the stipulated 48-hour period.
   Some of the children claimed that their parents were not informed of their arrests and the Child Development Agency was also unaware.
   The Children Development Agency integrates the functions of the three entities in order to provide comprehensive delivery of services to children and their parents (our clients). The Agency has statutory responsibility for children who are in need of care and protection i.e. those abused, neglected or abandoned as well as for children who are experiencing behavioral problems.
   As part of its emphasis on promoting children's rights, the CDA monitors the adoption of international child care conventions locally and aims at developing and promoting its position on children's issues internationally.
   Our Mission is to achieve the holistic development of children through the creation, implementation, coordination and regulation of programmes and policies, which meet Jamaica's obligations to international standards for children.

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