Children’s Authority calls on parents and guardians to ensure safety of their children
The Authority is appealing to parents and guardians to maintain open communication with their children so that they feel comfortable reporting any incidents or concerns.
Parents and guardians are reminded that they have a responsibility to ensure their children’s safety, at all times.
If the alleged incident highlighted on social media is true, the Authority commends the mother for being proactive in protecting her child. However, the Authority is calling on the public to report incidents to the Police and not engage in vigilante justice as the Police is responsible for criminal investigations.
With respect to the role of the Authority, under the Children Act, 2012, the Authority is mandated to investigate all reports of abuse. Once a report of child abuse or mistreatment is brought to the Authority’s attention, the investigation process is initiated to substantiate or not substantiate the allegations with a view to determining whether the child is in need of care and protection and what interventions would be appropriate in the child’s best interest.
In order to substantiate a report, the Authority’s investigation officer usually conducts at least three main investigations which involve a home visit that includes interviews with the child’s parents and other relatives, a school visit and community enquiries. In some cases, additional investigative work is done to ascertain the facts of the case, so that a fully informed recommendation can be made.
Children’s Authority calls for an end to irresponsible reporting of children
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is appealing to the media to desist from identifying children who are victims and/or witnesses of a crime
The Authority notes that the media continue to publish images and information that identify children, including their names, ages and the community in which they reside.
This practice places children and their family at risk of retribution and harm and subjects them to even further trauma and humiliation. It can also negatively impact the child’s recovery and may compromise related criminal proceedings.
The Authority is once again calling on the media to act responsibly in their reporting of incidents involving children, including those who are victims. The media must at all times take the necessary steps to minimise psychological trauma to children and exercise discretion in the degree of explicit detail contained in reports concerning child victims.
The Authority reminds media managers that the guide for journalists, recently published by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) and UNICEF, states that the media are “partners in protecting children’s rights”. As a result, the Authority is hopeful that the guidelines provided by ACM will be adhered to when reporting on children’s issues, especially those in need of care and protection.
UNICEF’s Regional Director impressed with work done by Children’s Authority
UNICEF's Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean has applauded the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago for building a solid and robust organisation.
María Cristina Perceval, who was recently appointed to the post visited the head office of the Authority on Thursday 11th August, 2016. She was accompanied by Aida Oliver, UNICEF's Deputy Regional Director and Khin-Sandi Lwin, Representative, UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area.
Mrs. Perceval was also in high praise of Stephanie Daly, S.C., Chairman of the Board of Management of the Authority, whom she noted was well-known in the region for her work in promoting the rights of children. She added that Mrs. Daly was truly an inspiration and looked forward to collaborating with her during her tenure as Regional Director.
During the visit to the Authority's Head Office, the UNICEF team toured the Registry Department to get a first-hand view of the Authority's process for receiving reports of children in need of care and protection. Mrs. Perceval noted that the Authority's data collection and child protection system was impressive and should be replicated throughout the Region.
Both Mrs. Daly and Mrs. Perceval noted that a key goal for their respective organisations was to change attitudes towards child protection and develop a culture of prevention, which would reduce abuse – always a better outcome than responding after harm is caused.
Mrs. Perceval is a former Senator in Argentina and prior to joining UNICEF she served as Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations.
From left: Khin-Sandi Lwin, Representative, UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area; María Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean and Stephanie Daly, S.C., Chairman of the Board of Management of the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
Parents reminded to keep children safe during the holidays
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CA) is urging parents and guardians to be vigilant in the care of their children, especially during the vacation period.
The Authority notes that there is a higher incidence of abuse of children during vacation, as perpetrators have access and opportunity, since children are often left unsupervised for longer periods of time.
Parents and guardians are reminded that perpetrators of abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, are usually known to the child and his or her family. Therefore, close attention should be paid to children to observe any changes in their behaviour or their interaction with those considered trusted and responsible adults.
The public is advised that child protection is everyone’s business, therefore if anyone suspects a child is being abused, they should report it to the Authority’s hotline at 996 or 800-2014 or to the Police at 999.
The Board of Management of the Children’s Authority thanks Sharifa Ali-Abdullah for her sterling tenure as Director
Mrs. Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, Director of the Children's Authority, who took up the challenge to lead the pioneering team to get the Authority operational, has decided to move on now that the Authority is positioned as the hub in the child protection sector.
Mrs. Ali-Abdullah stated, "while the experience at the Authority has been exhilarating, I am looking forward to an equally exciting future which includes assisting my country to advance its economic development agenda."
Mrs. Stephanie Daly, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Authority, said "Mrs. Ali-Abdullah's sterling leadership and resilience were instrumental in her achieving the mammoth task of setting up the organisation." She noted that "the achievements to date would not have been possible, were it not for the extraordinary commitment and dedication of Mrs Ali-Abdullah. This has been her decision, which we have to respect, but I can say with total confidence that the Board would have been delighted to renew her contract."
Mrs. Daly said the Authority owes a great deal of thanks to Mrs. Ali-Abdullah as she steered a team of multi-disciplinary professionals who shared the vision that all children have a right to be nurtured and to enjoy their childhood. Mrs. Ali-Abdullah added that she will continue to champion the cause of the Authority.
The Chairman commented that "no-one is tipped to be the successor. The post has been publicly advertised since Friday, and our usual process of reviewing applications and conducting interviews and background checks in an impartial manner will be observed."
Yesterday, the Board of Management appointed Mrs. Bernice Rouse-Wharton to act as Director to begin the selection for a new Director. Mrs. Ali-Abdullah has agreed to assist the Authority during the transitionary phase.