Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says the issue of children being placed in adult correctional facilities will be solved soon, after Cabinet adjudicates on a submission.
The Minister, who was addressing a community forum organised by the Child Development Agency (CDA), in Granville, St. James, on August 30, said she is pleased that a comprehensive multi-agency approach has now been agreed on for a final solution to the problem.
"I initiated discussions on this matter with the Ministries of Youth and Culture, Justice and National Security, and the Child Development Agency, and we are integrally involved in fashioning a solution to the problem. The international development partners are a part of this broad-based approach to solving this problem, and a comprehensive submission is now on its way to Cabinet with a solution to tackle the issue,” the Minister said.
Miss Hanna noted that from she was an Opposition spokesperson; she had championed the cause of having children removed from lockups and other corrective facilities meant for adults.
She told the audience that the Government is committed to safeguarding the rights of children, and while it is playing its role, communities must also engage in ensuring that children are protected from all forms of abuse.
"People need to look out for other people’s children as they would care for their own. This involves reporting cases of abuse to the Office of the Children's Registry, and by lending a helping hand to their neighbours through the many challenges of child rearing. The Child Care and Protection Act makes it mandatory for individuals to report all acts of violence against children, and a person can be prosecuted for not reporting known or suspected violence against children," Miss Hanna said.
"Adults need also to set good examples of love, peace, honesty and truth. Keep children away from the negative influences that are all around. We must empower our children, and lovingly correct them and guide them along positive paths. We must not give up on our children when things get difficult. The Government is here to assist families in their growth and development," she added.
Miss Hanna pointed out that the Government is moving away from putting children in homes. "Instead, we are working through the CDA to support families by providing counselling, and guiding them to channels of economic and other forms of assistance," she explained.
The series of community fora will continue from September to November in the parishes of Westmoreland, St. Ann and Manchester.