Children’s Authority responds to claims made by the Single Fathers’ Association
The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago believes it necessary to issue the following statement, in response to allegations made by the President of the Single Fathers' Association of Trinidad and Tobago about the Authority's processes when it receives children into care.
In fact, the Authority has been in regular discussion with Mr. Rhondell Feeles and since April 12, 2016, a meeting was scheduled for Thursday 28th April, 2016 to discuss strategies to work together in the best interest of children and their families. The Authority, therefore, is baffled by the allegations made by Mr. Feeles, since every opportunity is sought to engage in dialogue and address his concerns.
With respect to the placement of children, the Authority has had to receive over 100 children into care since proclamation. These children are at places of safety, Children's Homes, in foster care or with a fit person. The practice has been to contact family members to provide updates on the child's well-being.
Prior to making an application to the Court, the Authority engages the child's non-offending parent(s) and other family members/relatives during its investigative and assessment processes. Once the matter is before the Court, the Court in its discretion, will determine whether a family member should be permitted access to a child.
In fact, though not one of the Authority's mandated responsibilities, given its philosophy of maintaining family ties and reuniting children with their families, the Authority has facilitated close to 150 supervised visits between children and family members from all over the country.
Regarding the investigation process, the Authority conducts a psychosocial inquiry of the child and family in question, while the police focuses on the criminal investigation.
The Authority may conduct a child interview which is an important part of the investigation process. Staff members of the Authority have been specially trained in conducting such interviews in a child-friendly and non-threatening manner to minimise trauma to the child. Further details about the Authority's investigation process can be found on our website at www.ttchildren.org.
The Authority looks forward to continued collaboration with Mr. Feeles, to enhance the outcomes for children and their families in need of care and protection in Trinidad and Tobago.
Two Community Residences get the nod of approval from the Children’s Authority to operate
The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago has approved the first two residence licences to operate a Children's Home.
Since proclamation of the package of children's legislation on May 18, 2015, the 50 Community Residences were invited to apply for a residence licence to operate a Community Residence. The Authority received 28 applications and yesterday the Couva Children's Home and Crisis Nursery and the Haven of Hope Children's Home received notification that their applications were approved.
Prior to proclamation, the Authority had been working with the 50 Community Residences to assist them in meeting the requirements for licensing.
The Authority extends congratulations to the residences on this landmark achievement and thanks the Board and Management of the two residences for providing care and protection to vulnerable children.
Meanwhile, the Authority has released its Sexual Abuse Report, which highlights cases of child sexual abuse received within its first nine months of operations.
During the period, 915 cases of child sexual abuse were reported. This means that child sexual abuse accounts for one in every five cases of abuse reported to the Authority.
Children’s Authority appeals to parents and guardians to supervise their children
The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago views as disturbing, the video currently being circulated on social media of a child in the company of persons firing guns into the air.
The public is reminded that there are significant penalties in the Children Act 2012 for a person who fails to take reasonable precautions to guard against a child having access to arms and ammunition and suffers injury or death or causes serious or grievous bodily harm to another person.
The Authority is once again appealing to parents and guardians to supervise their children and be extremely vigilant in ensuring their safety.
Children’s Authority says ensure safety of children during Easter holidays
As the number of child abuse cases keeps rising, the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CA) is once again appealing to parents and guardians to ensure the safety of their children during the school holidays.
In just over 10 months since becoming operational, the Authority has received 4,857 valid cases of children in need of care and protection.
The Authority notes that particularly during school vacation and long weekends, there is a significant increase in cases of child abuse. Therefore, parents and guardians are being urged to ensure their children are left in the care of a responsible and trusted adult, whether it is at home or at a camp.
With the passage of the Children Act 2012, a child is defined as someone under the age of 18, with parents and guardians ultimately responsible for the care and protection of their children.
The Authority has identified some tips parents and guardians should observe to protect children over the Easter holidays:
- Inform children to never keep inappropriate touching a secret or any secrets in general.
- Stay within arm's reach of children near water (pools, rivers and beaches); do not leave children unsupervised.
- Get to know the adults and other children that your child interacts with. Observe their relationships.
- Teach children not to accept anything (money, food, toys, etc) from strangers.
- Know who your child's friends and associates are- speak to your child about peer pressure and ways to avoid it.
- Put away sharp objects / tools such as knives out of the reach of children.
- Prohibit use of /access to the stove, matches, lighters, open flame etc to avoid burns.
- Keep poisonous substances and chemicals out of the reach of children.
- Speak to children about safely surfing the internet and when applicable and age appropriate, use parental controls which are designed to protect children from inappropriate content they may see online.
Director of the Children’s Authority calls for greater support for women
As the country joins with the rest of the world in celebrating International Women's Day, tomorrow March 8, Mrs. Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, Director of the Children's Authority, is calling for "appropriate and urgent interventions to assist women who have very little or no support".
Her call comes following the release of the Authority's Statistical Bulletin– Nine Months and Counting... which shows a recurring trend that women, mothers in particular, continue to be identified as the main perpetrator of abuse against children.
Mrs. Ali-Abdullah says immediate attention is required, as it is symptomatic of the stresses that women are experiencing in managing households. She adds that "it is important to take stock of this issue and to understand the stressors and the contributing factors, to stem this disturbing trend". Mrs. Ali-Abdullah notes that "of the persons identified by callers as the alleged perpetrator of physical abuse, 40% of those were the child's mother". Therefore, she appeals to "women's organisations, in particular, to consider this among their priority issues and partner with the State in providing interventions aimed at reducing the high incidence of abuse in this country".
The Authority's Director highlights that the UN Secretary General's message rings true, as "women's empowerment leads to society's advancement".
Mrs. Ali-Abdullah states, "The Children's Authority will champion informed decision making and is hopeful that policy makers and other state and non-state actors will use these statistics to inform their interventions".
- Statistical Bulletin: Nine Months and Counting - May 18th 2015 to February 17th 2016
- Children’s Authority and Police continue probe into child abuse incident
- Over 4,000 cases and over 300 children rescued by the Authority in nine months
- Children’s Authority calls on public to make reports of abuse to its Hotline