- 1,297 of the 1,518 children reported missing over the period, have been successful reunited with their families
- The OCR has recruited an Ananda Alert officer
- Three strategies are being proposed to create a more effective public advisory system
More than 85 per cent of children reported missing for the period January to August 23, 2013, have since returned home.
This was disclosed on Friday, September 6, by Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who reported that 1,297 of the 1,518 children reported missing over the period, have been successful reunited with their families.
Ms. Hanna, who was addressing a press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister, informed that of the total number of missing children, 325 were males and 1,193 were females. Nine children (six males and three females) were found dead and 212 are still missing.
“I have mandated the OCR (Office of the Children’s Registry) to devise a successful and reliable system of informing the public of when there is recovery and the return of missing children because still, persons feel that a lot of the children have not been recovered when they actually have and successfully so,” Ms. Hanna said.
She also urged parents to ensure that they have a recent photograph of their child, and also supply a copy to the school at the start of every academic year, as this will assist in the recovery effort in the event a child goes missing.
“If we all assist to create stronger platforms and integration mechanisms to work with the various government agencies, and if something happens to your child, the recovery will be a lot quicker. We are utilising electronic media now and we are utilising billboards,” the Youth Minister said.
She informed that for financial year 2013/14 a sum of $6.7 million has been allocated to the Ananda Alert programme.
The OCR has recruited an Ananda Alert officer and has shortlisted persons for the position of Ananda Alert administrator following the approval of new posts by the Cabinet.
Ms. Hanna noted that three strategies are being proposed to create a more effective public advisory system.
“One is safety information to reduce the number of children that go missing; two, instances of missing children that are complete with names, locations, photographs and other pertinent information; and three, the recovery and return of missing children,” she outlined.
Meanwhile, Spatial Data Analyst in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Carey-lee Dixon, disclosed that mapping reports show a high concentration of missing children reports from the Waltham Park and Hagley Park Road areas of St. Andrew.
“These are mostly areas some would consider low income areas and so utilising geospatial technology, we can provide scientific basis and location,” Miss Dixon said.
She also informed that there is a higher number of missing children cases being reported at the Hunt’s Bay police station for both 2012 and 2013.
The Ananda Alert is a nationwide system, designed to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of a child in the unfortunate event that he/she is missing or abducted.
Under the Ananda Alert System, when a child is reported missing, the name and picture will be publicised on various media, such as television, radio, billboards and multimedia equipment in stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and other locations.