JIS: State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the observation of Child Month provides an opportunity for Jamaicans to reflect on and renew their commitment to the nation’s children.

 

He noted that the theme for the month, ‘Take Action! Break the Chain of Abuse Against our Children’, serves as an urgent reminder that “all of us, as individuals and as a society, need to do more to protect our children”.

 

Mr. Green was speaking at a Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) head office in Kingston on Thursday (May 4) to announce activities for Child Month.

 

The Child Development Agency (CDA) is collaborating with the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) and other child-related agencies to undertake a number of activities in observance of the month.

 

On Tuesday (May 9), CDA Cares will be launched at The Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. This initiative is a structured volunteer programme through which members of the public can assist residential childcare facilities by sponsoring a child, adopting a home, or volunteering in specific areas.

 

As part of the ongoing Child Protection Campaign, community walk-throughs will take place on May 12, 19 and 26.

 

Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, who also addressed the Think Tank, noted that these walk-throughs, which will be held at CDA regions across the island, will enable face-to-face interaction with citizens.

 

“We are targeting those hotspot communities from which we get a lot of reports in relation to abuse and missing children,” she informed.

 

Some of the targeted areas include Half-Way-Tree and White Hall Avenue, St. Andrew; and Barrett Town community in St. James, where the late Ananda Dean lived.

 

On Saturday, May 13 the CDA and other agencies will participate in Food For The Poor’s 5K Run at Emancipation Park, to raise funds to build houses for the less fortunate.

 

On Monday, May 15, the CDA will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom (UK)-based Debate Mate for the staging of a four-week programme aimed at providing children in State care with debating and conflict resolution skills.  The programme will culminate with a debate competition.

 

The signing will take place at the Homestead Place of Safety, St. Catherine. One of the highlights of Child Month will be the staging of Child Management Day on Friday, May 19.

 

Mrs. Gage-Grey told JIS News that on the day, which is also observed as National Children’s Day, more than 200 wards of the State will assume management positions within CDA offices, parish councils, government ministries and agencies, and corporate companies.

 

“The child will be afforded the opportunity to make at least one decision on that day in his/her capacity as the chief executive officer, executive director, or managing director,” she pointed out.

 

On Labour Day, May 23, the CDA will partner with Food For the Poor and other stakeholders in giving a facelift to the home of a mother of three in Barrett Town.

 

International Day for Missing Children will be observed on May 25, with the staging of an International Safeguarding Children Conference at the Shaw Park Hotel in Ocho Rios. More than 300 children are expected to participate.

 

The CDA’s Child Month activities will culminate on Saturday, May 27 with a National Children’s Expo and Special Needs Resource Conference at Hope Gardens, St. Andrew.

 

The conference is being spearheaded by the Nathan Ebanks Foundation, with support from the Ministry, OCR, National Child Month Committee, National Health Fund (NHF), Diabetes Association, Sickle Cell Foundation, and Jamaica Down’s Syndrome Foundation, among others.

 

CAPTION: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green (centre), fields questions at a JIS Think Tank on Thursday, May 4. He is flanked by Registrar at the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Greig Smith (left); and Chief Executive Officer at the Child Development Agency (CDA), Rosalee Gage-Grey