JIS News

Judge of the St. James Family Court, Mrs. Sherna Reid-Cross, has called on parents and care givers to demonstrate higher levels of commitment to the upbringing of children, for them to achieve their greatest possibilities.
Addressing a sensitisation workshop put on by the Office of the Children’s Advocate at the Grandiosa Hotel, in Montego Bay, St. James, on March 17, Mrs. Reid-Cross said that children brought in to the courts for care and protection were often severely abused by parents and care givers, leaving deep emotional scars which could adversely affect their future.
“Children are brought before the courts in extremely distressed conditions . for care and protection. They have been abused by parents or care givers who administer aggressive punishment methods, which result in the children being wounded and taken to hospitals. What is so sad is that the criminal and deviant behaviour of the children manifested in their homes, schools and communities, is as a result of what happens in the home in the initial stages of the children’s lives,” she observed.
She pointed out that these children needed to be taken out of these situations, away from the abuser, and placed in safer situations.
“There is need for committed parents and the need for committed workers. Parents must commit themselves to the care and nurturing of their children. They often neglect their children, leaving them unprotected. Children aren’t born adults, they are children and need to be nurtured and taught by the adults who seem to have neglected such responsibility and have rather opted for entertainment, such as sessions and parties,” the Judge argued.
She cited the negative influence from the air waves, through which violence is being taught to the children in songs and music, rather than educational material which empower children to see themselves as precious and valuable.
Mrs. Reid-Cross also indicated that the general community had a responsibility towards the total development and influence of the children and called for a total sensitisation of the whole country.
“Maybe we can forego some of the things that I see being promoted on our local media and focus more time and attention on sensitising our people on how to train the children and train the adults and care givers to give of their best to the future of our children,” she emphasised.
Children’s Advocate, Mrs. Mary Clarke, in pointing the way forward for the children, made a commitment to ensure that persons who enter the government or private system to deal with children be engaged in a period of orientation at the Justice Training Institute.
“As a high level policy recommendation, we are going to ensure that all persons that are employed to the system to deal with children should go through an orientation at the Justice Training Institute, and the rights of children and the laws impacting the children be integrated into the curriculum of training,” she said.

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