JIS News

Story Highlights

  • There have been a number of changes to children’s services in Jamaica with the aim of improving care and preventing violence.
  • Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, was addressing a media briefing on Wednesday (July 2) at her offices in New Kingston, at the conclusion of the two-day United Nations (UN) Cross-Regional Meeting for Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence.
  • Recommendations include: documenting existing studies, policies, laws and other initiatives to support and assist families in their child rearing responsibilities; pushing positive parenting; and preventing the abandonment and institutionalization of children below the age of three years.

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says that the Government is taking a proactive approach to addressing the needs of the nation’s children by putting the necessary systems in place.

She said that there have been a number of changes to children’s services in Jamaica with the aim of improving care and preventing violence.

She said that these changes are being effected through: increased capital expenditure for the upgrading of state care institutions; ensuring that the right people with the right skills, training and attitude are in the positions to take care of the nation’s children; and implementing co-curricular and extra-curricular programmes as well as training in social graces.

The Minister was addressing a media briefing on Wednesday (July 2) at her offices in New Kingston, at the conclusion of the two-day United Nations (UN) Cross-Regional Meeting for Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence.

She pointed to the need for a change in culture and attitude towards the care and protection of children.

“We can check all the boxes we want to check in terms of implementing laws, creating policies, but the culture has to change and until we now have communities taking responsibility …for the well-being of children, you can have as many laws… as you’d like to but you will not have the successful feeling of those laws,” she noted.

The UN Cross-Regional meeting was jointly hosted by Minister Hanna and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos País.

The high level round-table sought to develop strategic recommendations on how the various regions of the world can collaborate to prevent and respond to violence against children.

Ms. Pais, in her remarks, said that coming out of the two-day meeting, is the agreement that countries must invest in creating safe environments for children.

“We have learnt that by investing in the young children in our societies, we help develop them in the best way possible to be successful in school, to have a good health, to feel confident when they relate to other people and to feel reassured when they are victims of violence or abuse, they can turn to institutions without fearing reprisals, to have the right support,” she said.

Other recommendation include: documenting existing studies, policies, laws and other initiatives to support and assist families in their child rearing responsibilities; pushing positive parenting; and preventing the abandonment and institutionalization of children below the age of three years.

Participants also acknowledged the need to implement laws that prohibit all forms of violence against children starting with the very early years, including corporal punishment; to gather and analyze data on violence against children in early childhood; and promote research, including evaluation of existing initiatives.