JIS News

The Child Development Agency (CDA) is taking steps to ensure that all privately owned children’s homes are operating with valid licences in keeping with the Child Care and Protection Children’s Home Regulations.
The Regulations, which are complementary to the Child Care and Protection Act (2004), governs the establishment and operation of children’s homes in Jamaica. Under the new Regulations, which were approved by the House of Representatives in July, no children’s home can operate without a valid licence.
Chief Executive Officer at the CDA, Alison Anderson, speaking at the Sweet Sixteen Essay Competition award ceremony held today (Sept. 20) at the agency’s offices downtown Kingston, noted that under the Regulations, operators of private children’s home, who are found to be in breach of the guidelines, can face stiff penalties.
“With the Regulations, there is a legal framework that can now be enforced. The operators of these homes can lose their licence, they can face penalties before the court.both at the level of collective management and as individuals, who may not be abiding by the standards and regulations,” she explained.
Under the Child Care and Protection Act, operators of children’s homes are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the three-year licence granted to them to operate the home, including allowing for inspections by the relevant authorities.
Operators are expected to act in the best interest of every child in the home, including ensuring that they are treated humanely, receive suitable health care, education, and that all their rights are protected.
Additionally, they must provide the Minister of Health with written notification of every child received into the home within 48 hours; seven days notice of his or her removal; and other relevant updates as required by the Act.
The Act addresses among other things, children’s right to be fed, clothed, to express themselves, to privacy, freedom from corporal punishment and to legal representation. Children also have the right to be informed of his or her rights under the Act.
There are 62 residential child care facilities for which the CDA has regulatory responsibility. Of the total, 13 are operated by the Government of Jamaica and 49 are privately owned.
In the meantime, the CDA’s Sweet Sixteen Essay Competition was held to mark the 16th anniversary of Jamaica becoming party to the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. Some 64 children 16 years and under were invited to write an essay on the topic: ‘My wish for the children of Jamaica’.
The winner was 16-year old Jubilee Brown of the Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha Academy) in Kingston, who received a cheque for $ 20,000.
Cashauna Christie, who is also a 16-year old student of that school, placed second, while nine-year old Racine Grey from Irwin Primary School in St. James, placed third. They received cheques of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.

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