JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hundreds of young people from across the island today (August 21) participated in a historic summit, organised by the Child Development Agency (CDA), to allow them to discuss and make recommendations on improving the lives of children in Jamaica.
  • Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Hanna told the youngsters that they are “powerful,” as it is their input that will inform government policies and programmes.
  • Mrs. Gage-Grey also encouraged the children to participate in the day’s activities and programmes, and to “speak up and speak out, boldly and respectfully”.

Hundreds of young people from across the island today (August 21) participated in a historic summit, organised by the Child Development Agency (CDA), to allow them to discuss and make recommendations on improving the lives of children in Jamaica.
These will be presented to Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who also participated in the forum, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
The summit was also geared at: providing children with a greater understanding of the work being done by the government as well as private organizations and bodies; getting the children’s opinions on national issues which affect them; and providing a status report on recommendations outlined in the Children’s Declaration, which was developed in 2012 at the United Nations sub-regional meeting on Violence Against Children.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Hanna told the youngsters that they are “powerful,” as it is their input that will inform government policies and programmes.
“Over the last two years, we have set out to implement mechanisms and put in place systems so that I can hear from you, because oftentimes you have the answers, you know the solutions that you need, and you’re very clear on the kind of care and protection that should be given to you,” she said.   She told the gathering of young people that “your responsibility here today is not to be taken lightly”.

The Youth Minister also explained the significance of the various agencies in charge of child care and protection such as the Office of the Children’s Registry, and the CDA; the important role of the Child Advisory Panel (CAP) established by the CDA; and the Child Ambassadors programme, which involves children assisting with the reporting of child abuse and other negative activities affecting them.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, said that the agency, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, saw the need to have an event through which children could be engaged on the critical matter of child protection, as it moves to create a lasting legacy.
“This is in an effort to promote child participation…the CDA boasts a proud record of child participation because we firmly believe that the opinions and views of our children are crucial to the shaping of our nation, and to nurture our children to take their place in our society,” she stated.
Mrs. Gage-Grey also encouraged the children to participate in the day’s activities and programmes, and to “speak up and speak out, boldly and respectfully”.
Meanwhile, Chairman of CAP, Charles Young, informed that over the past three months, the group of nine young people worked tirelessly with the policy planning and evaluation division of the CDA, to organise the summit.
He said the objective of the body is to create an environment where children can interact and share experiences and views on critical issue affecting them in the society.
The summit was held under the theme: ‘Creating Opportunities for Vulnerable Children – opening doors to securing a brighter future’.