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In continuance of its mandate to provide care and protection for all children living in Jamaica, the Child Development Agency (CDA) will be seeking to expand its integrated response project during the 2007/2008 fiscal period.
This has been outlined in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House on June 19, by Minister of Health, Horace Dalley.
According to the document, a number of initiatives will be covered under the project, including the completion of two child-friendly versions of the Child Care and Protection Act 2004; joint training and development of service protocols with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in particular, the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA); as well as the formation of Area Child Protection Committees to strengthen the protective environment for children at the parish level.
In order to help promote the protection of children, the Area Child Protection Committees will work in partnership with schools, community based organisations and the Police.
Meanwhile, a National Framework of Action for Children is also being developed by the CDA to operationalize the goals of the World Fit for Children (WFFC) declaration and will bring, within one framework document, specific sector plans of action relating to the rights and welfare of children.
When the National Framework is completed, “it will highlight the major developments in the policy, legislative and institutional framework, indicative of the Government’s commitment to the survival, development and protection of Jamaica’s children,” the Ministry Paper states.
The CDA is an executive agency of the Ministry of Health and represents an amalgamation of the Children Services Division, the Adoption Board and the Child Support Unit. The agency is responsible for executing the mandate of the Child Care and Protection Act 2004.
These include safeguarding children from becoming at-risk through advocacy of children’s rights and the development of public awareness of issues affecting children.
Additionally, the CDA is responsible for providing the necessary and appropriate interventions for children who have been identified as at-risk from neglect, abuse, trauma, disability or any other factor, as well as, ensure safety, security, growth and development of children and young people in the care of the state.