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Increase in referrals to Child Development Agency

Students of the Ewarton Primary School in St. Catherine, cross the street in a cluster with the help of a traffic warden. - Ian Allen

SINCE THE PASSING of the Child Care and Protection Act, the Child Development Agency (CDA) said there has been an increase in the number of problems affecting children that have been reported to the agency.

"Since the passage of the act and the establishment of the CDA referrals and reports to the agency on a very wide variety of problems affecting children have increased. 17,000 such referrals were made in 2004/05 and the agency conducted just over 12,000 investigations," the CDA reports.

The CDA points out that all the reports were not just about abuse but involved various issues affecting children. For 2003/04, the agency received 15,000 reports and conducted 10,000 investigations.

The agency said people turned to the agency for various types of support including parental support, family counselling and information.

Reports of abuse

The CDA has been acting in the capacity of the children registry which is required under the Child Care and Protection act. The CDA says the process to establish this department has already commenced, however in the interim, it has been receiving all reports of abuse and investigating them in partnership with the police and the children's courts.

As for other aspects of the child care and protection act, the agency says implementation is underway. An intersectorial committee headed by the executive director of the Coalition on the Rights of a child and a project manager have been working assiduously towards the establishment of the office of the children's advocate. The CDA has also held several consultations with children to find out their expectations from this new office since it will be established to serve them.

The CDA has also been working on developing policies, legislative reform, recruiting and training staff and other service providers, developing new service standards, monitoring and regulating these standards and providing treatment and rehabilitation services to those requiring it.

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June 2, 2005

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