$10 Million for Project to Enforce Child Rights, $15 Million for Repairs to Places of Safety

The Policy Advocacy Special Care and Protection project in the Ministry of Health has been allocated a total of $10 million in the 2007/08 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The allocation, which is up from $3 million last year, is for the promotion of policy and legal reform to address and enforce the rights of all children and to also strengthen the policy, standards and capacity of implementing agencies and caregivers. This is in addition to advocating and mobilizing for the fulfillment and protection of children’s rights.
Anticipated targets for the 2007/08 fiscal year include establishing a database and tracking system for children, the formation of four Regional Children Counselling Centres, and developing and in some cases strengthening the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) to undertake corrective and remedial educational programme for vulnerable children, especially the disabled.
Of note also, is the development of guidelines, training and support for caregivers and others regarding how to provide child friendly response in cases of disaster and emergency.
The Ministry also hopes to withdraw, rehabilitate and prevent at least 1,000 children involved in or at risk of being engaged in the worst forms of child labour.It will also seek to increase the level of public awareness about child rights and the need for compliance to international conventions and protocols.
Up to December 2006, achievements included sensitizing the police, the judiciary and probation officers islandwide on the protection of children as it relates to the Childcare and Protection Act; developing training material for parents on the principles of the Rights of the Child; holding a national consultation on juvenile justice; organizing a National Children’s Parliament; and, researching and producing Jamaica’s second Report of the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, Switzerland.
Also, a plan for the prevention of violence against children has been developed and findings on a Child Labour/Youth Activity Survey, disseminated.
The promulgation and promotion of the Child Care and Protection Act with special emphasis on laws, which require perpetrators to be held accountable for child abuse, has also been one of the major successes of the programme.
The project, which commenced in January 1997, was extended to December of this year. It is funded by the United Nations Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) and implemented by the Ministry of Health.In the meantime, $15 million was designated to facilitate general repairs and refurbishing of Children’s Homes and Places of Safety.

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