Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says the government has demonstrated its commitment to the nation’s children, increasing the allocation for children’s services in the 2012/2013 budget.
The amount, she said, is a “major amendment in the re-current expenditure and certainly the allotted sum."
Miss Hanna was speaking on May 14 at the opening ceremony of the Sub-regional meeting for follow-up to the United Nations (UN) study on Violence against Children (UNVAC), at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
She noted that while the budget allocation is subject to the approval of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament, it serves as a signal of the state’s commitment to financing programmes for the protection and development of children, even amid very tight budgetary constraints.
The Minister informed that the enhanced funding includes an increase in the subvention paid to private children’s homes and places of safety. An additional sum will also go towards financing public education and a campaign directed at encouraging families to protect, foster and bring children into their homes.
She said more has also been allocated to enable the continued participation of the Child Development Agency (CDA) in the multi-agency strategic development plan for child protection.
She noted that “this means that two CDA investigators will continue working at the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) in the prevention and detection of sexual offences against children, when the current bilateral funding from the British government expires at the end of this month."
Minister Hanna informed that work is already underway to increase the monitoring of the status of Jamaican children; ensure an improved and more efficient reporting system; and increase measures to prevent abuse and other adverse violent situations affecting children.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter