Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Child Development Agency (CDA), Carla Francis Edie, says the audit being undertaken of the island’s child care facilities is almost complete.
“The audit is nearing completion and we are keen to see the results to begin the process of recommending and making the much needed improvements as appropriate,” she stated.
Ms. Francis Edie was speaking at a seminar hosted by the Association of Dynamic Administrative Professional (ADAP) on Wednesday, April 24, at the Old Hope Road offices of the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), under the theme: ‘Children in State Care: Are They in a State of Care?’
The CDA has engaged a consultant to carry out an audit of all child care institutions to review the programmes being offered, look at staffing, and examine the physical conditions of the facilities with a view to making improvements.
Mrs. Francis Edie said the audit is critical in improving the operations of the approximately 50 facilities as none of them were “purpose built”.
She reiterated the agency’s commitment to upholding the fundamental rights of children while providing a stable and nurturing environment for those who are deemed by the court to be in need of care and protection.
The CDA Head noted that children do best when they are placed in family settings, adding that the Child Care and Protection Act states that the family is the preferred environment for the child.
“It is against this background that the CDA is now employing a number of child diversion mechanisms to ensure that children are returned to the family settings,” she said.
There are more than 5,200 children in state care, with over 2,000 living in children’s homes and places of safety.
The others reside in the “living in family environment programme” which includes foster care, children, who have been placed on supervision order and those who have spent some time in an institution and have been reintegrated with their families.
Created in 2004 out of a merger of the Child Support Unit, the Child Services Division and the Adoption Division, the CDA provides child protection services such as case management and planning for the children’s court, the intake of children in need of care and protection, foster care and adoption, the investigation of reports referred by the Children’s Registry, and counselling.
It caters for children and their parents, particularly those who have been neglected, abused or abandoned; and provides care and protection through advocacy, education, rehabilitation and family support.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter