JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, The Hon. Olivia Grange, has appealed for the public to report any sign of child abuse or neglect within their communities to the Child Development Agency(CDA) without hesitation.
Miss Grange, who also has responsibility for community development and women’s affairs in the cabinet, made the appeal today in a statement responding to the case involving a two-year-old girl who was found abandoned in the old Jamaica Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(JSPCA) premises, Collie Smith Drive and Spanish Town Road, after four days.
Miss Grange said that, as a mother, she was deeply hurt by the news of the incident and shocked that this could have happened despite the many public appeals to show more love and attention to our children.
She said that she was concerned that there may be other children suffering similar cruelties in other communities unknown to the CDA.
“Even if a report is made to the Police, you must report these cruelties to the Child Development Agency (CDA) by law,” Miss Grange said.
“The Child Care and Protection Act makes it the duty of every adult to report every incident or suspicion that a child has been, is being, or is likely to be ill-treated, abused, abandoned or neglected, or is in need of care and protection,” Miss Grange stated.
“This duty applies- whether you are certain or only suspicious; and whether the abuse has happened, is happening or is likely to happen. In addition, failing to report it can result in a sentence of six months in prison or a fine of $500,000,” she added.
The toll free number for the CDA is #1-888-PROTECT.
Miss Grange said that she is also concerned about the reported response of the Police to reports about the abuse of the child.
“It is not for the police to determine whether a person is fit and proper to take care of a child whom it is suspected is being abused. The duty of the police is to report these matters to CDA which has the competence by law to make such determination.” the Minister said.
She has called on the CDA to immediately investigate the issue and to make public their findings. “The society needs to know and be sensitized, so that we can all play our part in preventing situations such as these.”
Minister Grange also expressed deep concern for the mother, Nicolette Ledford, 19 years of age.” One needs to find out what circumstances could have caused a mother to act in such a desperate and unnatural way, that of abandoning her child.
Ms Ledford has been detained under the Child Care and Protection Act.

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