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Story Highlights

  • Registrar at the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Greig Smith, is appealing for increased partnerships for the care and protection of the nation’s children.
  • He said that the collaboration of all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, community members, private and public sector organisations, is essential in safeguarding children against abuse and ensuring their holistic development.
  • The OCR Registrar reported a 21 per cent reduction in the number of children reported missing in the first half of 2014, which he credited to strategies implemented by the Ministries of Youth and Culture, and Education.

Registrar at the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Greig Smith, is appealing for increased partnerships for the care and protection of the nation’s children.

He said that the collaboration of all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, community members, private and public sector organisations, is essential in safeguarding children against abuse and ensuring their holistic development.

Mr. Greig was addressing an information dissemination session for childcare and protection stakeholders held on Thursday, December 11, at Troy High School in Trelawny. The event was hosted by Quality Education Circle Thirty-One (QEC 31) cluster of schools.

The OCR Registrar reported a 21 per cent reduction in the number of children reported missing in the first half of 2014, which he credited to strategies implemented by the Ministries of Youth and Culture, and Education.

He, however, expressed concern about the number of child murders, which increased to six this year from two in 2013, and also the high number of abuse cases.

“As stakeholders, parents we must take responsibility,” he stated, calling for childcare and protection professionals to redouble their efforts to reach guilty persons.

Mr. Greig said the OCR submits an average of 600 to 800 reports of abuse per month to the Office of the Child Development Agency (CDA) for action. “My stance at the OCR is that we are going into the communities where the people are. If they are in (the bars)…I am going sit down on the stool and drink water and talk to them, because that is an avenue that I (may) have to go to reach them,” he stated.

Co-convener of the session and guidance counsellor at Troy High School, Zanu Gordon, told JIS News that the objective was to address some of the challenges faced by QEC 31 teachers and to gain a better understanding of the reporting procedures and protocols to be used by guidance counsellors.

The session was also intended to be a forum for exchange of ideas and to expose successful experiences in education. There was commitment from participants to forge a greater level of communication and collaboration as they deal with issues affecting students.

QEC 31comprises educational institutions in upper Trelawny. These include Troy, Wilson’s Run, Warsop, Spring Garden, Albert Town, Ulster Spring, Freeman’s Hall and Alps primary schools.  Lowe River Primary and Junior High, Wait-A-Bit All-Age, Troy High, Albert Town and Westwood high schools.

In addition to OCR, agencies represented were: Office of the Children’s Advocate, Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), CDA, National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD), National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Child Guidance Clinic, Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education, and Trelawny Parish AIDS Association.

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