The Full Story
Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, has commended the Child Protection and Family Services Agency’s (CPFSA) staff for their dedicated efforts in safeguarding the nation’s children, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that there has been a major increase in the demand for the agency’s services over the last two years and encouraged the team not to “grow weary”.
“For you, as officers in the field, the demand on services is great. I want to encourage you to take some time for yourselves and then recommit to the task at hand. The reality is that, although everywhere there are similar situations with which we have to contend, there are also new challenges and new contexts within which you have to operate,” the Minister pointed out.
She said the Ministry will continue to work with the CPFSA to protect the nation’s children.
“We are committed to continue to boost the professional development of workers within the child development and protection services sector by improving training and regulation, supporting them to better protect children, and promoting their welfare,” Mrs. Williams said.
She was delivering a virtual address at the CPFSA’s fifth annual Field Services Conference at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James, on Wednesday (September 14).
The two-day event, held under the theme: ‘Building Bridges: A Case Colloquium’, was aimed at creating an environment that allowed participants to learn from best practices and provide an opportunity for CPFSA field officers to take a step back to self-reflect and refocus.
Meanwhile, the agency’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Rosalee Gage-Grey, who spoke to JIS News, said the entity is seeing an increase in the use of its 211 emergency hotline, which was launched in September 2021.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen an average of 4,000 calls to the line per week. There was a decline in the number of calls to our line, but eventually it picked up. I think, now, we are beyond pre-Covid figures; so, we are seeing an increase in cases and calls coming through our 211 line,” she noted.
While all calls do not result in a report being made, Mrs. Gage-Grey shared that “registration officers… are able to provide some basic information up front, so they can solve a certain percentage of the cases that come to them immediately.”
The CEO encourages Jamaicans, particularly children, to continue reporting suspected cases of child abuse and neglect.
“We encourage persons… to call, as someone will be on the other end. If you call the first time and you don’t get through, just call back because someone is on the line to listen and hear you out,” Mrs. Gage-Grey urged.