JIS: The National Youth Service (NYS) has assigned 17 tertiary graduates to the Office of the Children’s Registry and the Child Development Agency (CDA) to assist in clearing the backlog of reports.
The graduates, who are participants in the NYS Graduate Work Experience Programme (GWEP), commenced work at the agencies on January 23.
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, who made the disclosure in a recent interview with JIS News, said this is one of several measures being actioned by the Ministry to streamline and strengthen the child protection sector.
The graduates – seven of whom are at the OCR and 10 at the CDA – have been assigned to the agencies on six-month internships.
Meanwhile, Mr. Green said the Ministry will be overseeing the expansion of the CDA case management software to facilitate a paperless system for tracking and managing cases.
The system will be reprogrammed to facilitate the OCR reporting requirements, which is largely paper-based.
“What we had decided from December is that the case management software would be expanded to facilitate the OCR requirements. Instead of having two separate case management systems, it will be part and parcel of what the CDA does.
“That will go a far way not only in terms of the real time referral but also in terms of tracking what is happening… and that will help with recordkeeping and for us to be (current with) what is happening,” the State Minister said.
A request for funding for updating the system has been submitted to be included in the budget for the upcoming financial year.
Meanwhile, the agencies are to be merged to facilitate greater efficiency in processing reports and in the investigation of cases.
Mr. Green said that plans are being fast-tracked to ensure that the merger is completed in the first quarter of the new financial year.
He further noted that this will assist in streamlining the country’s child protection services.
“It will break down some of the bureaucracy that makes communication difficult. In some of the parishes there will be shared space, so the officer that gets the report will occupy the same area with the officer who investigates the report and as such, there is communication (in) real time…that will go a far way in assisting that process…at the end of the day they have varied but dual roles to play in ensuring that our children are protected,” the State Minister said.
The Ministry’s internal audit division will also be investigating the reporting and referral mechanism of the OCR and CDA to ascertain the shortcomings and make recommendations for improving the system.
The OCR is mandated to collect reports of children who have been abandoned, neglected, physically or sexually abused and in need of care and protection.
The CDA investigates reports of child abuse, abandonment and neglect and ensure that these children receive quality State care. The agency also spearheads public education programmes to prevent child abuse.
CAPTION: State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green