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    • Custos of St. James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, has joined the call for children to be protected against abuse, as failure to do so could have lasting adverse effects on their development.
    • “It is our country’s responsibility to ensure that our children have the possibility to develop in a healthy and normal manner,” he said.
    • “Failure to protect our children will have a negative effect [on them], which will continue into their adult life and also hold back a country’s national development. When children are protected they will be able to contribute to society as future citizens,” he added.

    Custos of St. James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, has joined the call for children to be protected against abuse, as failure to do so could have lasting adverse effects on their development.

    “It is our country’s responsibility to ensure that our children have the possibility to develop in a healthy and normal manner,” he said.

    “Failure to protect our children will have a negative effect [on them], which will continue into their adult life and also hold back a country’s national development. When children are protected they will be able to contribute to society as future citizens,” he added.

    Custos Pitkin was addressing the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) Child Protection Forum at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in St. James on Thursday (November 14).

    He lauded the work of the Agency, noting that it is “making a difference in the lives of our children, especially those who are at risk”.

    Custos Pitkin encouraged persons who are working with children to be more vigilant and to report any reasonable suspicion of abuse to the CPFSA.

    He further charged citizens to be on alert for signs of human trafficking, especially involving children. “Human trafficking comes in many forms, and parents, you have the God-given responsibility to protect your child,” he said.

    Chief Executive Officer of the CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, in the meantime, assured citizens that when they report child abuse their calls will remain confidential.

    “If you see something, if you hear something, if you suspect something we’re asking you to report,” she urged.

    Persons who wish to report abuse can call 888-776-8238 or visit any of the 14 CPFSA parish offices across the island.

    The forum was part of the CPFSA’s Every Child Deserves Protection campaign, which aims to educate the public about child rights and issues affecting children, and provide child-protection tips.

    It included participation from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Family Court, Jamaica Fire Brigade and the National Road Safety Council.