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JIS News

Parents of Rocky Point in Clarendon were yesterday (Sept. 21) informed of their responsibilities under the Child Care and Protection Act at a community outreach organised by the Clarendon Office of the Child Development Agency (CDA).
Francine Wallace-Rhoomes, Team Leader for the Clarendon CDA, told JIS News that parents had a number of obligations under the Act and they could be penalized for neglect or abuse of their children.
“It is very important for parents to know the legal implications of the things they do in regards to their children.we have to let parents know that it is their responsibility to take care of their children, to ensure that their children’s rights are upheld as well as inform them that there are fines they can be charged if they do not do what they are supposed to do,” she said.
Mrs. Rhoomes further explained that offences such as cruelty to, and neglect of, juveniles attracted a fine of $1 million or 12 months in prison, while cases involving child labour and failure to report abuse against children attracted fines of up to $500,000 or six months in prison. She also said carnal abuse and murder attracted penalties similar to those under the Offences Against the Person Act, which may include capital and non-capital punishment.
She informed that part of the CDA’s mandate was to carry out investigations into reported cases of abuse or other offences and to report the more serious cases to the police.
According to Mrs. Rhoomes, the outreach, which included a health fair, was among several being held in communities also the island, which presented “tough” parenting issues.
“We have decided to .see how best we can educate these parents and give them the services that they require for their children and for themselves,” she stated.
Pauline Henry, a 35-year-old mother of six and resident of Rocky Point, was happy for the CDA intervention programme. “I feel very grateful about this. People are getting educated on a number of topics including drug abuse because it’s a very critical issue that affects young people,” she said.
More than 120 parents and citizens benefited from the outreach, which included services from the Clarendon Health Department; the Victims Support Unit; the Drug Abuse Secretariat; Colgate Palmolive; and Ja-Style, a youth intervention programme, which deals with HIV/AIDS, youth involvement in crime and violence, drug addiction, among other things.