Budget of $34.23 Million for Office of the Children’s Advocate


The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) has been allocated just over $34.23 million to conduct its business in the coming financial year, which begins on April 1, according to the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
This represents a five per cent increase over the amount of $32.56 million granted to the OCA in the 2007/08 financial year.
“We are hoping that this allocation will be able to do the work we have planned for the upcoming year,” Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke told JIS News.
“We hope to be able to clear some of the backlog of cases. In the meantime, with more public education we should succeed in lessening the incidents of the infringement of children’s rights,” she added.
The OCA is currently running a series of public service announcements reminding children of their rights under the law, and advising parents and other adults of their responsibility to children, and plans to increase its public education campaign in 2008/09.
Established in January 2006 as a Commission of Parliament under the Child Care and Protection Act 2004, the OCA has a mandate to protect and enforce the rights of children.
Its responsibilities include: providing legal representation for children in court proceedings; dealing with children’s complaints concerning the infringements of their rights; investigating infringements of children’s rights by Government agencies; advising and making representations to Parliament, the relevant Minister or agencies on matters relevant to the rights and interest of children, and keeping under review the adequacy and effectiveness of laws and practices relating to the best interests of children.

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