JIS News

The Child Development Agency (CDA) has developed a Childcare and Protection Service Manual, as part of its measures to ensure quality service delivery to wards of the state.
The manual sets out protocols for CDA operations and service delivery and provides standards by which the CDA can be measured.
According to Winston Bowen, Director of Programmes at the CDA, the launch of the manual comes at a critical juncture in the development of services that cater to the care and protection of the nation’s children.
The CDA Director, in his address at the official ceremony for the renovation of the Glenhope Child Care Facility on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston on February 15, said that a new age had dawned for children, given the passage of new legislation and a refreshed mandate for services catering to them. “This manual will help us to chart that course by being our internal guide to appropriate action in this changed dispensation,” he said.
The manual, he explained, was a useful tool in advising the CDA on how to act in dealing with various issues of service delivery. He said that it would inform the agency of the scope of the challenges to be encountered and the nature of its added responsibilities and expectations and how to deal with these issues in the foreseeable future. “It is a useful and instructive tool in the development of the professionalism of the agency and its staff, and forms a new basis for the understanding of childcare and protection,” the Director noted.
In addressing service delivery by the CDA, Mr. Bowen said, the manual explored policies, procedures, statuettes and regulations governing the agency.Elaborating further, he said that the document set out new protocols for how staff should approach their tasks and as such, was “a groundbreaking tool” in enhancing professional development.
The manual is divided into four main sections, the first part of which provides a general framework of the agency’s practices, including the scope of its authority; the legal framework in which it operates; its role and responsibility; social practice; values and ethics; casework skills; and knowledge required. The second section outlines the full scope of the childcare and protection programmes offered by the CDA; segment three establishes 12 practice protocols; and the last section deals with supervision, consultation, and support as it relates to children under the agency’s care or who require necessary intervention.
“This manual is intended to provide guidance to the field worker, the managers of residential facilities, the administrative staff, so that the agency can be sure to operate consistently and ensure that service delivered is equitable,” Mr. Bowen stressed.
Minister of Health, John Junor, who was also on hand, concurred, stating that the manual acted as a “benchmark” and ensured accountability of the agency to its clients and public.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bowen said that since the inception of the CDA in 2003, the range of expectation as it relates to higher standards of service as well as upholding and protecting the rights of children, had increased in urgency.
“Initiatives that the agency has already embarked on such as developing specific care for children in residential facilities, are instructive in outlining how we should approach our task in these times of change,” he said.
The CDA, he informed, had also initiated measures such as hosting parents’ days, parenting workshops and other initiatives at childcare facilities, geared at promoting family unification. Mr. Bowen further mentioned that the agency had embarked on new measures aimed at improving the level of educational attainment of children in state-run facilities. This, he said, was geared towards empowering them for the future.
“It is no longer good enough just to have structures that house children until the children are old enough to go on their own; we must prepare them to optimise their development,” he stated.