90 per cent of missing kids found through Ananda Alert

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June 03, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Nardia Campbell holds a painting of her daughter Ananda Dean who was killed tragically some years ago and inspired the Crying Child Monument in downtown Kingston while attending the unveiling of some 219 names of children on the Crying Child Monument who have died tragically in Jamaica since 2011.

The Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) is reporting a 90 per cent recovery rate for missing children over the past three years through the Ananda Alert system.

Data provided by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Missing Persons Monitoring Unit show that for January to December 2015, some 1,941 children (1,533 females and 408 males) were reported missing, and of that number, 1,739 were recovered.

In an interview with JIS News, Head of the Ananda Alert Secretariat, Nathalee Ferguson, noted that children between 14 and 17 years old are often reported missing during holidays and following popular events frequented by young persons.

"Some children fall victim to peer pressure and tend to go missing at that time. Sometimes some children have simple disagreements in the home and they run away," she said.

Ferguson says an often overlooked factor in the disappearance of children is that some of these young persons suffer from mental disorders.

"Children have various issues as well; it's not just adults who have to deal with mental issues or have problems dealing with their temper. Some of the children who are missing are mentally ill," the Ananda Alert officer said.

She added that some children also run away from home because of abuse and neglect.

However, Ferguson said some interventions applied through the Ananda Alert system have contributed to the increased recovery rate. One such initiative was with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Caribbean Search Centre where more than 10 search and rescue training sessions were conducted to furnish volunteers with the knowledge to assist JCF personnel in tracking down missing children.

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