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  • 1. Jamaica’s Country Report on Child Participation “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business”Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 1
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSOverview …………. 3-4Report Period …………. 4Methodology …………. 4-5Situation of Children in Jamaica …………. 6-11Linkages: National Commitment,Policy and Legislative Environment …………. 8-10Child Care and Protection Act (2004) …………. 10-11Public Policy on Child and AdolescentParticipation …………. 12-27Child Development Agency …………. 18-20Office of the Children’s Advocate …………. 20-21Office of the Public Defender …………. 21Office of the Children’s Registry …………. 21-22Office of the Prime Minister …………. 22-23Ministry of Health …………. 23Planning Institute of Jamaica …………. 23-24Non Governmental Organizations …………. 24-27Impact …………. 28-29Evaluation …………. 30-31Perspectives and Projections …………. 31Suggestions …………. 31Appendix 1 …………. 32
  • 3. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES ACRONYMS & MEANINGCMC - Child Month CommitteeJAYAP - Jamaica Youth Ambassadors ProgrammeNCYD - National Centre for Youth DevelopmentSDC - Social Development CommissionILO - International Labour OrganizationESSJ - Economic & Social Survey of JamaicaPATH - Programme of Advancement through Health & EducationOCR - Office of the Children’s RegistryCISOCA - Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child AbuseJCF - Jamaica Constabulary ForceCCPA - The Child Care and Protection ActUNICEF - United Nations Children Education FundGOJ - Government of JamaicaOPM - Office of the Prime MinisterRCCFs - Residential Child Care FacilitiesPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 2
  • 4. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESOVERVIEWThe Child Development Agency, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, has beencommissioned to prepare a Country Report on national efforts to promote childparticipation, for submission to the Inter- American Children’s Institute. This is a keydeliverable under the Project “Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Children andAdolescents in the Inter –American System”, being implemented in Jamaica under theauspices of the Organization of American States (the OAS) and the Government of Canada.This project is simultaneously being implemented in Colombia and Guatemala and hasthree broad components: – Public Policy – Child Participation – Communication Strategies.Often, when we speak of children and child participation, we repeat the well-knownphrases that “children are the future” and “children will take their place in the world” butthis fails to fully convey that children are the present and that children have a place in theworld now. They are active in their communities; volunteering and helping their peers;and are contributing to the well-being of their families and communities.Children have ideas and opinions about their own situations - be it poverty, health,parents and parenting, education and crime and violence. Children also have many ideason how to solve the problems affecting their communities. When we consult withchildren on these issues we are not only fulfilling their basic right to participate, we arealso creating long-term sustainable solutions for their development and for the nation’sdevelopment.It must be recognized that childhood is not a uniformed life phase. Children’s experienceof their world is continuously changing and is influenced by context, age, gender,Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 3
  • 5. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESdisability, socioeconomic status area of residence and other factors. Thus, it is crucial toengage with girls and boys of different ages and backgrounds to better understand theirexperiences and perspectives to maximize the national benefit.For Jamaica, there is increasing awareness regarding the importance of childparticipation and contribution as an integral element in a family, community and nationaldevelopment. For this to be effective participation needs to be age appropriate, culturallyacceptable and action oriented.Articles 12, 13 & 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child require States to providetime and space for children to participate. The Child Care and Protection Act 2004(CCPA), consistent with the United Nations Conventions of the Rights of the Child, defineschildhood as the period from (birth) 0 -18 years. The CCPA outlines eight best interestprinciples for the child, one of which involves the right to participate.REPORT PERIODThe period under review is April 1, 2008- July 31, 2010.METHODOLOGYThe formulation and information gathering and collating process leading to the creationof Jamaica’s Country Report on Creation of Jamaica’s Country Report on ChildParticipation was led by the Liaison Officer with responsibility for Child Participationunder the project “Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents inthe Inter-American System”. This report seeks to build and expound on the previousreport submitted in 2009.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 4
  • 6. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESThe method of data collection employed in this effort is outlined below: 1. An inventory was conducted of all State and Non-State Agencies operating in the Child Care and Protection Sector. At its conclusion, a total of sixty (66) institutions were short listed. 2. An information gathering template was created and administered accordingly. 3. A team comprising the Technical Liaison Officer, Liaison Officer for Child Participation and the CDA Public Relations and Communication Manager acted as an oversight group with responsibility for: – Developing an action plan to guide the process from start to finish – Creating and dispatching an introductory letter and Child Participation Fact Sheet to the over sixty six (66) entities, which were invited to provide reports. These were delivered by bearers. – Coordinating the delivery of the request to the Agencies and conducting the necessary follow-up, in an attempt to clarify issues. 4. Maintain contact with participating agencies via the telephone or email 5. Receive and review completed questionnaires for inputs to inform the report.Of the sixty six (66) agencies (State and Non-State) invited to report, 20 or 33.3 %responded, five (5) of which did not provide details of their efforts.The process proved time-consuming due to limited understanding and knowledge ofchild participation. Efforts were made to provide the appropriate guidance on this matter.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 5
  • 7. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESSITUATION OF CHILDREN IN JAMAICA1Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola), with atotal area of 11, 244 square kilometers. Though small geographically, Jamaica is adominant force globally in the areas of music, sports, the arts, and academics. Jamaicahas a population of 2.8 Million people, of which 34% are children, with males numbering491,300 and females 441,200. Overall unemployment rates have remained fairlyconstant (since 1995) at approximately 15%. However, the rate of female unemployment(21%) is twice that of males (10.3%), despite the attainment of higher educational amongfemales. Women head close to half of Jamaican households (46.3%) and female-headedhouseholds are usually single female-headed households. This means that the singlefemale is the sole income earner. Children living in 36% of Jamaican households grow upwithout an adult male figure.Children under the age of 14 years comprised just over 28.3% of the population in 2007.Slightly more boys than girls are born every year (51% and 49% respectively) out of theyearly birth cohort of 44,000 children. The Jamaican child’s life expectancy at birth is 72.4years.Jamaica reports a literacy rate of 86%. Jamaican children aged 3 to 5 are universallyenrolled in an early childhood programme, and more than 97% of primary school agedchildren are enrolled in primary or secondary schools. Enrolment rates fall significantlyat the secondary school level, dipping to 71.1% by grades 7-9, with lower rates ofattendance. These factors have resulted in poor performance in the Caribbean SecondarySchool Certificate Examination (CSEC), and high drop out rates, especially among boys inthe older age groups.1 From the National Framework of Action for Children, 2010Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 6
  • 8. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESThe research shows that Jamaican children tend to be healthy. The infant mortality rateis estimated at 17 per 1,000 live births. The under-five mortality rates or probability of achild dying before his or her fifth birthday is 20 per 1,000 live births. Immunizationcoverage is 85.7% for DPT, OPV, BCG and 31.7% of 3-month babies are exclusivelybreast-fed.Over 30% of adolescents indicated that they worr about the fighting and violence theysee at home, at school and in their communities. Independent predictors of childhoodaggression in Jamaican children were reported to include high levels of exposure toviolence, significant amounts of physical punishment at home, increased crowding in thehome, and limited opportunities for peaceful and legal socio-economic participation.Conduct disorders in adolescence were found to be associated with mothers beingabsent, often to migration, the presence of a negative parental role model, usually afather, and a number of changes in parenting arrangements.In 2006, a total of 175 children (149 boys and 26 girls) were murdered or missing, upfrom 91 in 2005. In 2006, throughout the island’s public hospitals adolescent boysrepresented 24.3% of all stab wounds and were five times more likely to be treated forgun shot wounds than girls. While boys are principally the victims of intentional injuries,girls are typically victims of sexual crimes and abuse. A total of 1,389 sexual offenceswere reported in 2006. Of that number carnal abuse, (a sexual offense committed againsta girl aged 16 or under) accounted for 31.2%2. Sexual assault and rape against boys, evenwhen reported to the Police, do not appear in statistics.Approximately 20% of births in Jamaica are to adolescent girls and teenage girls arealmost three times more likely to become infected with HIV than boys of the same age.2 IbidPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 7
  • 9. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESAt the end of March, 2010 total of 5782 children are in the tertiary child protectionsystem that include Children’s Homes, Place of Safety and Living in Family EnvironmentPlacements.Jamaica has a rich culture; one which is promoted at all levels. The Cultural policyembraces the concept of child participation in a meaningful way, by involving children inboth the decision-making aspect as well as the delivery of cultural programs at both thelocal community and national levels. This is evident through the involvement of Jamaicanchildren in sports, church and musical groups at the local, school/parish, national andinternational levels. This is especially so in the sporting arena, in areas such as netball,track and field tennis, table tennis, badminton, cricket, swimming and football.Children also experience other types of participation around student leadership andadvocacy. Students in secondary and tertiary institutions participate in school clubs suchas Key Clubs, 4H clubs and uniformed groups including the Girl Guides and Boys Scouts.Students also contribute to the school environment through participation in the school’sStudent’s Council and on the School Board.Other national initiatives such as the Youth Parliament and its precursor, the Children’sParliament, give young people the opportunity to speak on national policy issues at thehighest level. Non-government and faith based organizations also provide opportunitiesfor leadership growth and development, through activities that range from advocacy andmedia initiatives to leadership clubs that operate in community and institutional settings.Linkages: National Commitments, Policies and Legislative EnvironmentThe Government of Jamaica, with the help of civil society and international developmentpartners, made some progress in efforts to protect and fulfil the rights of children. Stepswere taken to establish a policy framework, guided by the principles of the Convention onthe Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which arePrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 8
  • 10. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESdirectly or indirectly relevant to the welfare and well-being of children. This policyframework is buttressed, locally, by the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA, 2004),which has spawned legislation in a wide range of areas including child trafficking andchild labour and led to the establishment of key agencies including the Office of theChildren’s Advocate and the Children’s Registry. Other components in this framework arethe Medium Term Social and Economic Framework, and the National Framework ofAction for Children (NFAC) which is currently being developed.There are a number of commitments to local and international protocols that fullyembrace child participation as a right. Some of these are:1. Jamaica ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991. Article 12 of the CRC states that children have the right to express their view and be heard in all matters affecting them. This article and Articles 13, 14, and 15 establishing the child’s right to access to information, freedom of belief, and freedom of association, are some of the important articles that support a child’s right to participation in family, community, culture and broader civil society. These rights apply to all children irrespective of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, income etc (article 2 non-discrimination).2. Child Care and Protection Act (2004) – The legislation seeks to bring Jamaican law in line with the CRC. It speaks to the importance of child participation. This subscribes to the “best interest”, principles which govern outcomes for children.3. Consultation Code – This Policy statement codifies the commitment of the Government of Jamaica to consult with the Jamaican citizens, including children and youth on the development of national policies and major programmes4. CDA Corporate Strategic Plan 2009-2012 –The roadmap to child participation, guiding the outcomes for our children and their families.5. National Framework of Action for Children (NFAC) –One of its five goals focuses on child participation.6. National Strategic Plan (Draft) for Preadolescent and Adolescent health 2010- 2015.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 9
  • 11. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES7. Education Regulation Act 1980- Provides guidance on how students can seek redress, if it is felt that he or she is unjustly treated and gives the framework for the establishment of Student Councils to participate and provide input on matters affecting them.Child Care and Protection Act (2004)Jamaica ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in May 1991. This signified anational commitment to improving the status and condition of our children. It alsoprovided a focal point for the efforts of non-governmental and State organizations toheighten public awareness of child rights. The next step was to give the commitmentpractical effect by incorporating the principles of the Convention into national legislation,with the enactment of the Child Care and Protection Act, 2004 (CCPA).The Act strengthens the capacity of the Jamaica Government to protect children fromabuse, neglect, exploitation and maltreatment. It is supported by several policies andsystems, which are part of a complete package of initiatives aimed at maximizing the careand protection of the Jamaican child. Section (2) of the Act clearly states that a factorwhich should be taken into consideration in determining the child’s best interests is thechild’s ability to form his/her views and, if so, those views and the importance given tothose views.Sections 88 Sub-Section 1 Part D and 89 of the Child Care and Protection Act 2004 statesthat operators of private children’s homes must “Recognize, respect, protect and ensurethe rights that the Act guarantees to children in care”. These are, the right:- o To be fed, clothed and nurtured according to prescribed minimum standards and to be given the same quality of care as other children in the placement, o To be consulted and accordingly to the child’s abilities, to express views about significant decisions affecting him/her; o To reasonable privacy and to possession of personal belongings;Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 10
  • 12. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES o To be free from corporal punishment; o To be informed of the standard of behaviour expected by the caregivers and of the consequences of not meeting that standard; o To receive medical (including psychological care) and dental care when required; o To participate in social and recreational activities appropriate to the child’s abilities and interests; o To receive the religious instructions, and, as far as may be reasonably practicable, to participate in the religious activities of his/her choice; o To be provided with an interpreter, if language or disability is a barrier to consulting with the child on decisions affecting custody or care; o To privacy during discussions with a family member or a legal representative; o To be informed about and to be assisted if the child so wishes, to make contact with the Children’s Advocate; and o To be informed of his/her rights under the Act and the procedures available for enforcing those rights.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 11
  • 13. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESPUBLIC POLICY ON CHILD & ADOLESCENT PARTICIPATIONChild Participation is facilitated by the State and is made possible through the Child Care& Protection Act of 2004. The Act outlines meaningful participation as one of eight bestinterest principles for the child. No one Agency was named as the implementer of childparticipation. However, in 2009, the CDA took the decision to drive the process in a moremeaningful way, through its Corporate Strategic Plan 2009-2012, with the first phasebeing to fully understand the principle of Child participation and build its experiencebefore engaging at a National level.Currently, entities in Jamaica do not carry child participation activities as a line item intheir budget. However, child participation activities are provided for under broaderprojects as is evident from the experience we have seen. Agencies who contributed to theformulation of this report indicate that between 2008 to march 2010 they spent aconsolidated amount of JMD$1, 408,966,300.66 or USD$ 16, 383, 329.08 on childparticipation activities which directly impacted/engaged over 9, 397 children andadolescents, participating in 146 sessions over 706 days and 21 hours. See Table 1 forfurther details. Majority of this was provided by the Government of Jamaica, internationaldonor partners and local based non-governmental organizations.The programmes through which child participation were facilitated are: – Development of Audio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) – Caribbean Child Development Centre’s Child Rights education Project phase 1 – Baseline Study on the situation of the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children and adolescents in Jamaica – Kingston Centre Counselling Clinic or KEY Clinic (knowledge and education for youth) – GOJ/EC/UNFPA – Joint programme on Sexual and Reproductive HealthPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 12
  • 14. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES – HIV/AIDS Prevention Education – A Gendered Perspective – The Male Desk – Public Education and mentorship programes in schools established three (3) male youth mentorship programmes in schools in Kingston and St. Andrew (9-17yrs), Established six (6) male action groups among males from church, community and civic society – Public Information Campaign – IDEVAW, NATFATIO Committee, Schools education programme, Inter-American year of Women – Policy and Legislation – the Education Act, the Maternity Leave Act, Teenage Pregnancy Policy, Poor Relief law – 4H Club Project – Courtney Walsh Cricket Foundation Programme – Hush the Guns Programme – Male Reproductive Health – Goat Rearing and Rabbit Care – Rewards and Privileges – ANANDA ALERT – School Safety and Security programme – Institutionalization of DevInfo (JamStats) – An Intervention to Address Behavioural Problems including Violence and Aggression in schools – Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social & Economic Studies – Caribbean Child Research Conference – Boys Brigade Jamaica – The National Festival o f the Arts – The Entertainment Arts – Culinary Arts Competition – Creative Writing Competition and Exhibition – National Visual Arts and Exhibition Competition – Participation in Tourism Awareness competitions – Essay and Poster – Tourism Awareness Talks and exhibitions done at schoolsPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 13
  • 15. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES – Spruce Up Jamaica Summer Intern Programme – Spruce up Jamaica Essay Competition – Spruce Up Jamaica Youth Expo and Career day – International Coastal Clean Up Day (ICC) – ICC – Youth development trainingThe objectives of these programmes were: – To sensitize the public about child abuse and the importance of reporting child abuse – To promote child rights by increasing learners’ knowledge of child rights principles and provisions, of children’s evolving capacities and by providing the tools and techniques to facilitate meaningful child participation and implement a rights based approach to children and children’s issues. – IIN-OAS, inter-agency cooperation with Rise Life Management, YMCA, Children First, CDA, Places of Safety – Confidential counseling for children of any age and Peer Counsellors Training. – To produce Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) material for adolescents; adults males including men with disabilities – To promote behavior change and risk reduction in response to the feminization of HIV/AIDS pandemic and its correlates to gender based Violence – The goal is to strengthen personal autonomy through access to information on human rights to make sexual and reproductive health decision free of coercion – To become competent members of society – To ensure positive social change in the lives of wards – To promote wards’ positive attitude towards peers, and enhance behavioural patterns – To improve literacy and behaviourPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 14
  • 16. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES – To build team spirit and cooperation – To build culinary skills – To get wards to be aware of their reproductive system – To teach wards how to care for rabbits and rear goats – To modify wards behaviour through cognitive behavioural intervention – To promote a culture of research among high school students across the Island by facilitating presentation of students research and awarding the most outstanding child researcher and teacher – To recognize the work of child researchers in child related issues by awarding the top ten child presenters – To promote habits of obedience, reverence, self respect and all that lends towards true Christian manliness to 60 boys – To train and equip children and adolescents with mediation and dispute resolution skills, as well as child rights education violence prevention techniques. – To identify factors which predispose and precipitate violence and aggression by way of focus group and one to one discussions – To identify both specific and general triggers through personal interviews and self participating in educational experiences that involve constructive problem-solving activities – To help students to harness fact-based personal constructs and emotive motivations to shape productive directions in their lives – To aid students in the realization that development of realistic self-knowledge, coupled with psychological problem-solving skills, increases the likelihood of positive school outcome, career satisfaction and fulfilling life. – Articulate the vision of safe school – Clarify the stakeholders’ role in the Safe Schools programme – Conduct a situation analysis – Identify critical next steps for the Safe Schools programme.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 15
  • 17. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES – To ensure the rapid and seamless dissemination of information of information on missing children immediately after they go missing – To ensure the safe recovery of all missing children – To expose young minds to the Tourism product and the range of available careers – For youngsters to express their views on the Tourism product – Interaction between students and stakeholders in the industry towards better understanding and career development – To garner a child’s perspective on various topics and to build self confidence. – Improve the knowledge of the students on tourism – The primary objectives are to foster the development of talents and to adequately expose them. – To develop the creative talents of participants for entry into the creative industry. – To showcase and preserve culinary skills for professional and entrepreneurial development – To foster development of the literary arts landscape development locally. The competition provides additional training and encourages participants to express their creative talent in writing. – To showcase the creative talents of Jamaican in visual arts islandwideThe contributions of children and adolescents who participated in the programme wereutilized to: – Strengthen the ANANDA alert system and to assist with conducting investigations to bring perpetrators to justice, – Address immediate issues identified within the process and within the scope of the intervention – Develop a project based on initial intervention at the specific school – Create a replicable model for other similar schoolsPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 16
  • 18. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES – Facilitate work of Child researchers whose inputs will be incorporated into publication for dissemination to both children and adults. – Used as a guide to implementing skills training and planning competitions. – Used as a guide to improving the effectiveness of the programme – Improve mentors’ efficiency in facilitating the programme – Peer to peer engagements – Inform the recommendation for legislation to address the status of persons affected by HIV/AIDS; age appropriate programming – Decision making in Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH) issues. Assisting schools’ guidance counselors – Development of Behavior, Change and Communication (BCC) materials – Contribute to the course development of training programmes – Bring children and stakeholders together so that they can hear the opinions of children’s on matters such as child rights; their expectations of duty-bearers and of their peers – Provide feedback on levels of awareness of the specific target groups; Tourism action club (TAC), Environmental and 4H club members – Information to Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) for international body for world statistics. – Enhance programmatic solutions directed at children.Training in relation to Child Participation is delivered as part of Child Development orChild Rights training programme that is usually facilitated by tertiary institutions such asthe Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC) UWI, University of the West Indies(UWI) and University of Technology (UTECH). Those programmes are mostly directed atadults as caregivers, those working as child mentors and others.There are a number of institutions and Non-Government Organizations who areresponsible for promoting programs or projects to encourage the participation ofchildren and adolescents. The Child development Agency is playing a key role in thePrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 17
  • 19. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESprocess; however other Agencies such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour &Social security, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Office of the Children’s Advocate, Office ofthe Children’s Registry, Early Childhood Commission, Ministry of Health, Ministry ofJustice, Jamaica Constabulary Force/Centre of Investigation for Sexual Offences and ChildAbuse, Victim Support Unit, Children’s First, Hear the Children Cry who are required toprovide services to children are required to put programmes in place to enablemeaningful Child Participation. See below for a summary of Child Participation activitiesembarked on by some of these Agencies.Child Development AgencyThe Agency has been actively strengthening a number of strategic objectives, withactivities aimed at having children participate in its operations. Inputs or feedbackreceived are used to guide policy and decision-making. Some of the activities are:Corporate Strategic Planning: One of the Child Development Agency’s strategicobjectives is the Advocacy of Children’s Rights. Two of the strategies that will be carriedout during the period 2009 – 2012 are (a) 1.4 - “CDA’s activities are delivered withsignificant input and participation from children”, and (b) 1.5 - “Prepare cadre of childrento act as a resource support to be engage in peer to peer presentation and otherparticipation programmes where participants are children.” These are part of theAgency’s ongoing effort of ensuring that enough opportunities are created for children tobe incorporated in the planning and decision-making processes involving issuesimpacting them. Corporate Strategic Planning 2009 – 2012 – Child Focus GroupSessions: The Agency coordinated three child focus group sessions in which 39 childrenparticipated. The sessions were organized as part of its corporate strategic planningprocess. Of the total number of children participating, approximately 29 were from theresidential child care sector in and the Foster Care placement programme with theremaining being ‘out of care’ children pulled from high schools in the KingstonMetropolitan area.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 18
  • 20. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESInstitution Monitoring and RegulationThe Child Development Agency has a core of five Monitoring Officers spread across thefour regions of the island. In addition to their core function of ensuring the maintenanceof standards and regulations within the Residential Child Care Facilities, MonitoringOfficers facilitate almost daily engagements with the children to air their complaints,concerns or recommendations to enhance service delivery. A Complaints Policy is in placeto speedily address any complaint that is made in confidential ways to protect theidentity of the child or adolescent. Moreover impromptu and scheduled meetings are alsoheld to facilitate child participation in the system of governance in addition to identifyingand correcting any detected breach of the C.C.P.A. or Standards of Care. The team metwith 4,558 children in 2008 and 3,467 children in 2009 and their inputs used to showsimprovements with in-service delivery while living in RCCFs.Children Management Day: In 2008 the management team at the Manning Boy’s Homeinitiated and coordinated a Children’s Day where the children were given the opportunityto manage the operations of the facility for a day. The intent was to get the children moreinvolved, while building character and leadership skills and qualities. The feedback wasexcellent and we have seen some improvements in child to staff and child to childrelationships. To this end plans are far advanced for the establishment of Children’sCouncils in GOJ and privately operated residential child care facilities. Over 10 Councilscomprising of 8-12 children will be established and children trained by November 30,2010.Child Friendly Version of the Child Care and Protection Act 2004: The ChildDevelopment Agency in collaboration with UNICEF created and distributed a child-friendly version of the Child Care and Protection Act targeting children ages 13 – 17years, and a similar booklet targeting children ages 7 – 12 years. It is important to notethat children from both age cohorts were consulted in drafting the child-friendly versionof the Act prior to their finalization and distribution island-wide. Prior to thedistribution booklet to the 13 – 17 age cohorts, over 3,500 children were allowed toPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 19
  • 21. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESparticipate in a survey (pre-test) to test their knowledge of the Act. A similar survey(post test) was conducted involving an additional 3,500 children to determine the level ofimprovement in the knowledge-base of the children. This material has been uploaded tothe Agency’s website. A pre-test survey was also conducted involving approximately3,800 children in the 7 – 12 age cohort aimed at determining how knowledgeable thechildren were of the Child Care and Protection Act. Over 12 children participated in thecontent and illustration designs of the books.Life in Care Interview: The Agency has engaged over sixty children in the design andtesting of the Life in Care Exit Interview targeting adolescents 16 years and over. Theirinputs were received and contributed in the final product which has since been placed inproduction.Candle Light Vigil: The Child Development Agency organized and invited theparticipation of corporate Jamaica and civil society in its Annual Candle Light Vigil whichwas held at the Emancipation Park and was attended by over 3,000 individuals (adults &children). The vigil was organized as part of the commemoration of World Day for thePrevention of Child Abuse. This was another participatory exercise for children in StateCare and pockets of the society to play an active role during the event’s proceedings.Website Development: Five children helped to guide the development of the Agency’scorporate website which was launched in 2006. The site is used for informationpurposes on the various services & programmes as well as child-friendly edutainmentand provides a means of communication for those wishing to relay messages or to makesuggestions on key services areas.Office of the Children’s AdvocateThe Office of the Children’s Advocate engaged children in a series of consultation sessionswhich were held to sensitize them about the Agency and its role. Children were allowedPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 20
  • 22. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESto participate in various discussion topics, relayed challenges in areas affecting them bothat home, school and in the community and were allowed to make recommendations forconsideration. Areas of discussion centered around; (a) child rights and responsibilities,(b) child abuse, (c) use of corporal punishment, (d) lack of leisure and rest, and (e) crimeand violence and its impact on the child. The sessions were facilitated by a number ofyouths trained to carry out such sessions.Office of the Public DefenderThe Office of the Public Defender has also had instances where they have had to advocateon the behalf of children and their families.Office of the Children’s RegistryThe Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) started its operations in January 2007. In June2007, the Regulations governing the operations of the Office of the Children’s Registrywas passed in the House of Parliament, Jamaica.The Child Care and Protection Act created a legal obligation to report knowledge orsuspicion that a child has been, is being or is likely to be abandoned, neglected, physicallyor sexually ill-treated or otherwise in need of care and protection (as defined undersection.8 of the C.C.P.A.). This legal obligation extends to every member of society, but isparticularly emphasized for a range of “prescribed persons” listed under s.6 (1) of the Act– largely persons who, in their occupation acquire a duty of care towards children.Prescribed Persons are: o A physician, nurse, dentist or mental health professional, o An administrator of a hospital facility, o A school principal, teacher or other teaching professional, o A social worker or other social service professional, o An owner, operator or employee of a child day care center or other child care institution,Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 21
  • 23. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES o A guidance counselor, or o Any other person who by virtue of his employment or occupation has a responsibility to discharge a duty of care towards a child.Under S. 5, the CCPA makes provisions for the creation of a Children’s Registry to whichreports of child abuse, neglect and need for care and protection should be made.The Office of the Children’s Registry is responsible for receiving, recording and routingreports of maltreatment of children: who have been abused, are being abused or arelikely to be abused. These reports are then routed to the Child Development Agencyand/or the Office of the Children’s Advocate which are named as first respondents in suchmatters. Additionally, reports indicating clear and imminent danger to the child shouldalso be routed to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) – Centre for Investigation ofSexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).Office of the Prime MinisterStudents for Transformation is a group of young persons who presently operate out ofthe Office of the Prime Minister. This group, formed in 2009, comprised the Head PrefectsAssociation and Representatives of Student Councils in the Corporate area of Kingstonand St. Andrew. The group’s main concern was the violence associated with the ISSAGirls’ and Boys’ Championships a calendar 4 day event (generally held in March / April)held at the National Stadium in which High and Secondary Schools across the islandcompete in different sporting activities. These children and adolescents dreamed ofhaving a non-violent Championship and later met with representatives from the NationalTransformation Programme to strengthen their initiative. They communicated theirmessage through a number of sensitization sessions at different schools facilitated by theManagement of the Schools in their time allotted for General Assembly and Devotion andthrough Seminars including Head Prefects of particular schools.Students for Transformation have been expanding to include the the development ofprogrammes that promote youth empowerment, volunteerism and nationalPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 22
  • 24. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIEStransformation. It presently has membership across approximately 20 SecondaryEducational Institutions and has widened its reach to sensitizations at the Primary levelof the Educational strata. Its ultimate aim is to extend its influence to all levels of theEducational system.The group is taking steps to produce a Radio Programme dubbed “Talk yu talk, yute’ anda Television version “Youth a yaad”, it is a youth oriented, solution based programme forchildren and adolescents to participate by voicing their concerns or issues and inrecommending solutions to address them. This child and adolescent participatoryprogramme is being supported by a number of media Houses and is expected to come onin December 2010.Ministry of Health and the EnvironmentThe Ministry of Health and Environment has utilized youth actors and others in helpingto spread the message of prevention and care in HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitteddiseases and on the issue of reproductive health.Planning Institute of JamaicaThe Planning Institute of Jamaica has played a key role in embracing inputs from childrenin a number of its activities. The organization held consultation sessions with childrenand youth from over 25 high / secondary schools in the Kingston and St. Andrewmetropolitan area, St. Catherine and St. Thomas in the Vision 2030 Jamaica - NationalDevelopment Plan process. This was facilitated through the hosting of special focusgroup discussions with approximately 1, 200 students in the 15 to 18 age group, fifth &sixth formers, disaggregated in seven clusters from over 25 schools in Kingston & St.Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas. They were the first target group to be consulted inthe formulation of the Plan. The questions listed below formed the basis for thediscussions.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 23
  • 25. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES  What do you want Jamaica to be like in 25 years?  What does being a developed country mean to you?  Is there any country that you would like Jamaica to emulate or to be like?  What are the main elements of society that we need to change to achieve our vision?Youth from community groups and students from schools across the island also provideduseful feedback to inform the Plan, during their participation in the year-long process ofisland wide public consultations. Their involvement was facilitated by the SocialDevelopment Commission (SDC).Consultations on the Gender Sector Plan were held with over forty children ages 15 – 18years participating.Non-Governmental OrganizationsA number of initiatives aimed ensuring that our children play an integral role in ourdiscussion and decision making process has been led by non-governmental organizations.Some of these efforts are listed below: o Jamaica has benefited from the advocacy and representation made on behalf of children by Non-Governmental Organizations such as Hear the Children’s Cry and Children First. Apart from giving the child a voice, they continue to work with agencies such as the Child Development Agency and the Office of the Children’s Advocate in providing support through counseling and other interventions aimed at bringing national awareness to child abuse and exploitation and also providing assistance to victims in the recovery and re- integration processes. o Youth Intervention Strategies delivered through the Police Youth Clubs and the Social Development Commission provide a means of involving youth in community outreach and development and positive mentorship programmes.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 24
  • 26. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES o Youth Development Programme: engaged over 2,000 youth ages 6 – 16 years during 2008 in youth development programmes geared at facilitating improved academic performance. o Child Research Conference: The fourth staging of the of the Caribbean Child Research Conference was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on October 20- 21, 2010 as a collaborative effort with the University of the West Indies, United Nations Children Fund, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, Caribbean Child Development Centre, Child Development Agency, Office of the Children’s Advocate, Planning Institute of Jamaica and others. The theme of this years conference was “Five Years before 2015: the MGD’s (Millennium Development Goals) and Child Rights in the Caribbean” under its broad goal of Promoting Child Rights through Research. Presentations covered a number of themes of which child participation took centre stage on the second day of the Conference. A number of youth representing a good cross section of the society delivered research on current issues and issues affecting them in their own home and school communities. They reported the findings of their investigations complete with recommendations to resolve or at least minimize the incidences of exposing the child to harm or for the child or adolescent to act in a way that would put him or her at risk of physical or moral danger. were engaged in both the planning as well as used to deliver key note presentations as well as allowed to participate in the different discussion topics / sessions facilitated at the conference. Plans to include and involve children in the staging of the conference are a fixture since its inception in 2006. o National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD): The NCYD in collaboration with a range of agencies coordinate programmes and activities related to youth development in Jamaica. During 2009, the NCYD coordinated the National Student Council Week under the theme “Taking responsibility” and the theme for 2010 was ‘Accepting the challenge raising the standards”. Activities focused on promoting the voice of the youth on issues that affect them such as the re- integration of teenage months in the formal secondary school system, the use ofPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 25
  • 27. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES cellular phones in schools and the use of metal detectors in schools. At the beginning of academic year 2010 a number of theses recommendations are now a reality in several schools as a means of protecting and promoting a safer environment for children to live and work and learn. o Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme (JAYAP): Youth Leadership was promoted through the Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme, under which youth serve on several boards and committees. The 2008 – 2010 Youth Ambassador Corps, comprising seven males and seven females, was appointed in May 2008. A selection process is now in place to appoint another Corps to serve another two years. The Corps included two CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, one Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, one Alternate Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, one Positive Living Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth, two Youth Ambassadors to the United Nations General Assembly and seven Youth Ambassadors At-Large, with the latter being assigned to areas such as Culture, Peace, Rural Areas and Environment, Disabilities, Healthy Lifestyles, Livelihood and the Organization of the Americas. o National Youth Month which is usually celebrated in November provides young people with the chance to participate in activities geared at improving their self- esteem and exposing them to positive role models. It is expected that over 15,000 youth will participate in the Youth Month activities in November 2010 under the theme “Jamaican Youth organizing, integrating and participating for development. Major activities include the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence, a Youth and Ministers Forum where Youth Parliamentarians will have the opportunity to meet with Ministers of Government and make recommendations, and a Street Youth Stakeholders Consultation with the aim of developing a plan of action towards engaging youth living and working on the streets. o Child Month Committee (CMC): The CMC comprises a group from government and non-governmental organizations with responsibility for planning and execution of events to commemorate May, of each year, as Child Month. This is an annual thematic celebration wherein a particular area of focus is highlighted notPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 26
  • 28. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES only through electronic media but in every pocket of society to identify and support the most vulnerable among the children. There is a general promotion for children to participate and play lead roles in schools, church services, the launch of Child Month Activities as well as to act as key note speakers at some fora organized by the Committee. o Children’s Coalition of Jamaica is a combination of NGO’s and Government Agencies whose aim is to create and develop opportunities for child participation and is based on the UNCRC rights of the child to participate. This Coalition has as its major thrust the resumption of the Children’s Helpline an opportunity for children to call for help with any issue that they have. This helpline will be created to provide a conduit to the Child Protection services in the island. In addition the Coalition will provide training around child participation to increase the capacity of children and adolescents to participate in different settings.Based on experiences, children are engaged and their inputs used to inform publicpolicies; however no direct action has been taken to promote the dissemination of theseChild Participation experiences on a National level.The planned approach facilitated by this project will address the matter of includingvulnerable and excluded groups in a more fulsome way in the near future.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 27
  • 29. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESIMPACTChild engagement also had some impact on other children by virtue of the programmesimplemented by participating Agencies. Some of the improvements highlighted were: – Children were provided with a forum in which to express their opinions, be heard and considered. The learners and trainers gained insight into the children’s perspectives, – Behavioural change, – Improved capacity of children for self assessment, – Greater display of internal locus of control, – Improved interaction with others, – More positive academic output, – Increased capacity of students to utilize JamStats in research activities – Children’s perspective as it relates to the Safe Schools’ Programme strengths, opportunities and threats and recommendation for improvement – A refinement of the Safe Schools Vision – making it more student focus – Greater awareness – Improved safety and security – Contributed to the formulation of a training programme that reaches at least 50 peer counselors annually – Provision of medical service at lest once per week (when Doctor is available) – Increased awareness of SRH issues and risks among adolescents – HIV/AIDS Prevention Education – Inform a Public Information Campaign – Policy and Legislation – Improvements in organization and delivery of competitions in terms of prizes, marketing and public relations, production delivery, décor or events, events beginning on time and improved standards – Sustenance of entertainment, cultural and educational values – Unearthing of and the development of talents among children and adolescentsPrepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 28
  • 30. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES – Increased exposure of participants for social and economic development – To ensure that all participants are trained and certified through HEART – Children and adolescents act as mentors to their peers and have learnt to adapt positive attributes and work ethical.Notwithstanding the impact registered by participating Agencies the process ofmeasuring the impact of the various experiences on child participation provedchallenging. Based on experience it will take time for Jamaicans to truly embrace allelements of child participation, especially in a culture where our children are expected tobe seen but not heard. As this belief slips further away from our subconscious to thereality that our children have a right to participate and indeed can make meaningfulcontributions to nation building. The experience of the Students for Transformation andthe Student Council Association will see children and adolescents taking their place inresponse to issues that affect them. Additionally, a number of the Agencies whoresponded to the call for report indicated that there was some improvement in thequality of life of children who participated. It is clear that the child engagement processhas some impact on other children by virtue of the programmes implemented byparticipating Agencies.Children are considered the main beneficiaries under the programmes initiated byInstitutions within Jamaica. The inputs gained were instrumental in guiding the policymaking arm of the Agencies involved.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 29
  • 31. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESEVALUATIONA number of mechanisms were employed by State Agencies and non-governmentorganizations to evaluate the impact of child participation programmes in which theywere engaged. Some of the mechanisms were: – Informal evaluation and de-briefing with the children immediately following their presentation. – Formal evaluation of the children’s panel presentation by learners and trainers – Evaluation forms completed at the end of the session – Survey and gap Assessment Report completed – Knowledge base assessment of SRH among children in 5 schools – Sex-disaggregated data was collected and used to assist with evaluation component of each – Participation in competitions at zone, parish and national levels – Evaluation forms, self assessment, monitoring evaluation, interview with participants – Competitions to evaluate aptitude and adeptness in skill training areas. End of Term Examinations have also been conducted.Children and Adolescents were given opportunities to participate in the evaluationprocess and to provide inputs on prescribed instrument. There were instances wherechildren were allowed to provide verbal feedback and those captured accordingly by theparticipating State Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations.Strides are being made within Government and Non Governmental Organizations. Thebasic premise is that as children grow older their sense of responsibility increases and asthey move towards taking their place in the community, society,Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 30
  • 32. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIESworld of work and the global village they need to make their voices heard as they inputenergy into the world that they will live in. Unfortunately many people still feelthreatened by the voice of a child but this is a non negotiable indicator to the progress ofa country.PERSPECTIVES AND PROJECTIONSAs our Government struggles with its massive debt, burden replicating the presentedprogrammes within the State sector will be a challenge. Focused effort, therefore, has tobe made on sustaining and strengthening the existing programmes of child participationwhich enlarge the drag net of the vulnerable children and adolescents who need to beincluded in decisions that affect them. On the other hand, corporate Jamaica should beencouraged to make this investment in the lives the children and adolescents who we aregrooming to become tomorrow’s leaders.SUGGESTIONSIt is necessary for Jamaica, guided by the CDA under this project, to embark on a massiveeducation drive that effectively communicates the core tenets of child participation andinfluences wider public appreciation. This initiative should target educating StateAgencies and Non-Governmental Organizations on child participation, what it is, why it isnecessary and how it can be facilitated. This can be achieved under the project‘Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents in the Inter-American System’.The IIN is to accept this report as an interim one, with the final report to be submitted byDecember 17, 2010.The project is to schedule the preparation of a Country report on Child Participation in atleast 3 months prior to its end, which is to be used as part of the overall evaluation of theeffectiveness of the child participation component.Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 31
  • 33. CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JAMAICA COUNTRY REPORT ON CHILD PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES Table 1: Summary of child participation activities by State and Non-State Bodies.No. Name of organization Number of children who participated Total Number of Number of Child Participation Activities 0 – 5 yrs 6-12 yrs 13-17 yrs 18-24 yrs hours engaged conducted M F M F M F M F M F 2008 2009 20101. Caribbean Child Development Centre 4 4 6 9 10 13 6 1 22. Environmental Foundation of Jamaica * * * * * * 13. University of the West Indies 14 6 14 6 ongoing ongoing (started in 2005)4. JamStats Secretariat 2 hrs 1 in 20075. Ministry of Education 1 day 16. Office of the Children’s Registry 5 4 5 4 2 hrs 17. OPM – Dept of Local Government ongoing 1 ongoing programme8. Women’s Centre of Jamaica 1 in 92 which is 2003 Foundation ongoing9. Jamaica Cultural Development Commission10. Department of Correctional Services 60 49 60 49 6mnth – 1 yr 1 2 211. Bureau of Women’s Affairs 410 1225 410 1225 1 212. Child Development Agency 1754 1756 2045 2033 5 8 3804 3797 341 days & 10 60 40 20 hrs13. Ministry of Tourism 222 442 633 10 12 days 6 2 3014. Jamaica Cultural Development 24 weeks commission15. National Youth Service 23 weeks 2 1 1 Total 1763 1764 2535 3322 5 8 4303 5094 706 days & 21 67 53 26 hrs ** Actual number of children is unknown Prepared by the Child Development Agency November 2010 32