Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, Says the Government is working on several policies and programmes to reduce the chances of youth becoming involved in crime and violence.
According to Minister Morgan, amending the Child Care and Protection Act, which speaks to enumerating the rights of children, is one of the policies the Ministry is in the process of submitting to Cabinet.
He also pointed out that the Ministry is working to repeal Section 24 of the Act, which “gives judges the discretion to incarcerate youth without charge”.
He noted that the Government has made “strong strides” through child diversion and other mechanisms to prevent young persons who are not charged for a crime from ending up in a penal institution, “but there are still incidents of it taking place within the society”.
Minister Morgan was speaking at the virtual United Nations Development Programme Youth Summit on crime and violence, in observance of World Peace Day, celebrated Tuesday (September 21).
“The reasons why I choose to enumerate some of these reforms, and we have more that we could enumerate, is the recognition that the challenged youth did not begin to become challenged when he reached a particular age but the foundation of the family, the foundation of the educational institutions and the community have a significant impact on the outcomes of our children,” he said.
Against that backdrop, Minister Morgan also disclosed that the Ministry is on the verge of launching a group parenting campaign, “as we recognise that a strong foundation within the family [helps] our youth”.
He also pointed out that the use of corporal punishment will not be encouraged by the current Administration.
“It is the intention of this Administration to ban corporal punishment, but before that, we need to educate our population. We’ve already banned corporal punishment in our public institutions, and the next step is to ban corporal punishment nationally,” he noted.
He said the public will have access to the new 2-1-1 hotline, which will replace the 888-PROTECT hotline to report child abuse and neglect. “It is an easy-to-use hotline, and it is the first 24-hour hotline of its kind,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Minister Morgan shared that as the nation “grapples with a high incidence of crime and violence, particularly among the youth,” the Government will continue to include the youth in the decision-making processes.