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JIS News

Members of the public, who witness children being abused or may be in need of assistance, are being asked to call any of the Child Development Agency (CDA) offices across the island, which are all listed in the blue pages of the telephone directory. There is also a toll free number 1-888-991-3353, where complaints may be lodged and these calls are logged.
In outlining the procedure for filing complaints, Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Alison Anderson said that persons making reports were required to provide their name and address.
“If there is an ongoing investigation that is called for, then that person will have to be a part of the investigation because of course, if a Children’s Officer arrives at the home enquiring about the welfare of the children, it is highly unlikely that the parent/caregiver is going to tell the truth,” she explained.
Depending on what is reported to the Intake Officer, persons may be required to attend their local CDA office. This is dependent upon the severity of the case.
“Cases are judged on their own merit. This is based on the experience, the expertise, the training and skills of the officer in charge, but you can’t get away from the fact that it is always a judgement call,” Miss Anderson explained. “You will save thousands, but you will be remembered for the one that you did not,” she added.
The CEO also advised that reports of abuse or neglect could be reported to the local police station. “The police are mandated and responsible for also protecting children,” she informed, adding, “if you call and you don’t see one agency coming, call the other one”.
Another option will be available soon with the creation of the Children’s Registry, which is outlined in the Child Care and Protection Act. When established, persons will be able to call the Registry and file a report regarding children, who may be in difficulty.
Meanwhile, Miss Anderson told JIS News, that the CDA was still investigating reports that complaints were made to the agency regarding the welfare of the two children, who perished in a fire at a home in Duhaney Park in Kingston on February 13.
She said that persons with information regarding the complaints should contact the agency. “We need the information to investigate the veracity of these claims. We will truly appreciate it,” she noted.
“Most of the time when people say that they call Childcare and Protection Services, it is the Family Court that they call,” the CEO pointed out.
On average 14,000 cases of abuse or need for assistance are referred to the CDA per year. “These are the ones that are logged.” Miss Anderson informed.