CPFSA celebrates Child Month with slate of activities

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A young girl (photo:courtesy of Nappy)

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) will be undertaking several activities during May in observance of Child Month. These include outreach initiatives, workshops, empowerment sessions, as well as ‘edutainment’ experiences.

Acting CEO of the CPFSA, Michelle McIntosh Harvey, said the planned activities will target children in state care and the wider community, with an emphasis on child protection and child rights in keeping with the Child Month theme, ‘Children Need Our Love and Protection… Get Involved’. She pointed out that some of the activities are a continuation of the agency’s child-protection school tour, which is aimed at educating children about child abuse and their rights.

On May 11, 17, 20 and 27, under the School Hop and Children’s Home Outreach programme, childcare officers, accompanied by the child protection mascot, ‘Mr Protector’, will visit schools and residential care facilities across the island to interact with the children. On Friday 19 May which is observed as National Children’s Day, the agency will host its eighth Child Management Day, dubbed ‘Children in Charge’.

This programme allows wards to have first-hand experience of different job portfolios in residential childcare facilities, CPFSA offices and other participating organisations. “They will be given the opportunity to shadow senior personnel and participate in decision-making during the day,” McIntosh Harvey said.

An Ananda Alert Youth Forum will he staged on Thursday 25 May targeted at teens aged 13 to16 years from schools islandwide. The event is intended to develop youth-centred solutions to addressing the problem of missing children in Jamaica.

Several other activities are being planned at the regional level, including capacity-building workshops focused on improving children’s esteem, as well as etiquette and grooming sessions.

A Child Career Guidance Summit will be held in the northeast region, which covers Portland, St. Mary and St. Ann. Mrs McIntosh Harvey reported that the CPFSA will be using Child Month to “remind parents and guardians of their duty to protect their children, in keeping with the Child Care and Protection Act, as the safety of our children is paramount”.  “The CPFSA understands the many responsibilities and demands of parenting, in particular for those employed. However, we are also urging parents experiencing high stress levels and who and may be finding it difficult to meet the demands of their children to contact us for help. We stand ready to provide the necessary support,” she said.

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