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JIS News

The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), is currently hosting consultations with church leaders across Jamaica, to help promote the protection of the rights and best interests of children.
The first two meetings took place in St. James and St. Ann, while the next two are scheduled for Manchester on October 28 and Kingston on November 4.
“These consultations are intended to share information with participants on the Child Care and Protection Act, and to inform persons of the role and functions of the Office of the Children’s Advocate,” said Public Education and Special Projects Manager, Georgia Garvey, in an interview with JIS News.
Miss Garvey pointed out that many children are still being abused, not only in their homes, but also within institutions, such as schools and child care centres.
“The reports of children being abandoned and neglected have also increased. Others are forced into child labour to the detriment of their education. These actions are clear infringements of children’s rights and if immediate attention is not given, they will negatively affect the quality of life of Jamaica’s children,” she said.
She informed that the consultations are aimed at forging new partnerships with key groups within the society, to foster and encourage better treatment of the children.
Miss Garvey said that 300 religious leaders from various denominations across the island have been identified to meet with the OCA, and that by the end of the consultations, it is expected that the OCA would have increased sensitivity, promotion and protection of the nation’s children.
“These groups have a marked influence on the populace of Jamaica and should be able to provide, within their normal religious routines, influences on the rights and best interests of children,” she added.
The issue of children’s rights has been a cause for concern in Jamaica, although significant strides have been made to protect them. The recent abductions and murders of some of the nation’s children have served to heighten the concern for the welfare of some of the country’s most helpless citizens.
The OCA has a mandate to ensure that the rights of children are protected and enforced, so that every child can grow in an environment that is caring and sensitive to his or her need for survival, protection, development and participation in community activities.