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JIS News

The Office of the Children’s Advocate is to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Police on March 11, to discuss issues affecting children.
These issues have come out of a series of workshops held islandwide by the Office of the Children’s Advocate. Five have already been held and the final one is to be held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on March 11.
Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke told JIS News that the five workshops held in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Mandeville, and St. Catherine have assisted her office to identify many issues that are affecting children negatively. These would form the core of the discussions with the Ministry of Education and the Police.
“I’ve found so many issues that I need to sit and discuss them,” she said. These include the use of ganja and its impact on children, problems of loud noise in some communities and the emergence of ‘hot spots’, where children are being abused.
“We need to bring these to their attention and hope they will get the Police in these areas to investigate and see what can be done,” she added.Lauding the integrated network of the police, Mrs. Clarke cited the use of community policing and community meetings as excellent tools to address the issues that would be discussed.
The series of consultations are an attempt to educate persons about the Office of the Children’s Advocate, its role and functions, and to educate persons about the Child Care and Protection Act, as it relates to children in school, teachers, and guidance councillors, and to hear the voice of the children themselves.
An additional benefit of the workshops is to give guidance to the relevant authorities for the review of policies, including Parliament and the Ministry of Education as well as the various agencies at the forefront of the care and protection of children.