JIS News

Regional Director of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), North East Region, Carolyn Stewart, is encouraging persons to report suspected cases of child abuse.

“If you feel like a child is being hurt, you have to report it. We do not want you to get the facts; we do not want you to investigate; we do not want you to come with evidence; we want you to tell us, so that we can roll out and do what we have to do,” Mrs. Stewart said.

Speaking to JIS News after a child-protection drive-through of the Breadnut Hill, Colgate and Golden Grove communities in St. Ann on May 7 as part of Child Month activities, Mrs. Stewart said persons must make reports to the National Children’s Registry at 888-PROTECT (776-8328).

“COVID-19 has caused us to alter the way we operate a little bit. Usually, we would have a walk-through where we would be out and on the ground.  Nonetheless, we still have to send the message [of child protection], so we had to make an adjustment and so we are doing this drive-through today,” she said.

Mrs. Stewart thanked the agencies with which the CPFSA partnered for the drive- through, among them the National Council on Drug Abuse, the Ministry of Justice as well as the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

She emphasised that the CPFSA is committed to ensuring that the message of child protection reaches citizens, not only in the urban areas but the rural communities as well.

For her part, Chief Executive Officer of the CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, told JIS News that the drive-through activities slated to take place across the island this month are also to ensure that citizens “know about our services and that they know where to report if there is any matter that needs to be reported”.

During the drive-through of the communities, representatives from the CPFSA spoke to residents about the importance of child protection and to report suspected cases of abuse. They were also given educational material that highlights the roles and functions of the agency.

The CPFSA will be staging several islandwide activities in celebration of National Child Month 2021, which is being observed in May.

Child Month is being celebrated under the theme ‘I Strive to Overcome Adversities with Resilience (I-SOAR)’.

Among the activities planned by the agency for the month are child protection motorcades, roadshows and drive-throughs, which will see several officers of the CPFSA regional teams engaging citizens to build awareness about child abuse and protection, through recorded messages and town-crier broadcasts.

There will also be the launch of a competition between childcare facilities, where each institution will be required to submit a short video of a section of the compound requiring renovation.

Child Protection Mascot, ‘Mr. Protector’, will be unveiled on National Children’s Day, May 21.

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