The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) opened offices in Manchester and St. Ann this month, as the agency continues to facilitate more persons outside the Corporate Area, who need to make reports of child abuse or neglect.
The offices have been set up at Child Development Agency (CDA) locations in the two parishes.
The Manchester office, situated at 19 Caledonia Mall, Mandeville, commenced operations on May 6, and the St. Ann facility, located at Lee Sin Tyre Centre, Shop 15-16 Windsor Road, St. Ann’s Bay, was opened on May 13.
The expansion of OCR’s services is as a result of a pilot project conducted in partnership with the CDA in 2011 and 2012, which saw OCR officers being placed at CDA offices in the parishes of St. James, St. Catherine and Manchester.
Registrar of the OCR, Greig Smith, told JIS News that the pilot found that there was a high demand for the OCR’s services.
As a result, he said, a decision was taken to open offices at select CDA locations across the island to receive and assess reports of child abuse from persons within those parishes.
“We are pleased for this initiative as we believe that as we celebrate Child Month (in May) under the theme: ‘Children’s Care and Protection…A Fi Wi Mission,’ that the OCR must show our position in regards to the care and protection of children,” Mr. Smith said, noting that the aim is to have a facility in very parish.
The Mandeville office will serve residents in Manchester, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon, while the office in St. Ann’s Bay will serve St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland.
Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to
4:00 p.m. on Friday. The public can also make calls to the Registry’s central location via the toll free number 1-888-PROTECT (776-8328) or 908-3132.
Mr. Smith further disclosed plans to open offices in St. James and St. Thomas “hopefully, before the end of the financial year or close to next year this time.”
He informed that the ORC is receiving a “high volume of reports” from St. James, and noted that while the volume of reports from St. Thomas is low, “it was important to educate residents about child abuse and how they can protect children by making reports of known or suspected child abuse to the OCR.”
Mr. Smith is encouraging Jamaicans to care and protect the nation’s children.
“Let’s not leave our children alone. Let us provide proper supervision for children. Let us provide medical care for them and let us send them to school everyday. Let’s not neglect them. Let’s not abuse them but care and protect our children,” he stated.
Contact: E. Hartman Reckord