news 20190531 15− persons urged to cooperate with the ministry

−appeal for more support for foster care

The Ministry of Social Protection is targeting residents of Charity in Region 2 for a series of parenting workshops to commence in June.

The programme which aims to strengthen the parenting skills of its participants is part of efforts to combat child sexual abuse in the Pomeroon-Supenaam Region.

Supervisor of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), Karen Sealey told the Department of Public Information (DPI), during the ‘Government comes to you’ outreach on May 29 at the Damon Square, that the majority of reports relating to poor parenting are emerging from the Charity community. The ministry aims to reduce such reports and to help educate residents.

“We [ministry] always want to promote, where child protection is concerned, that there is a partnership between the community and the ministry and so we had a series of community outreaches within the region. We want persons to feel free to make contact with us especially when it is it relates to a child being abused,” Sealey explained.

The supervisor encouraged persons to contact the office should they witness any form of child abuse. They can either call the hotline number 227-0779 or contact the officers directly. Persons can also “walk in” to the agency’s location in Anna Regina next to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) department, to make a report.

According to Sealey, the ministry is also in the process of launching its foster care programme. She noted that there has been a delay in the launch since the ministry wants to garner more support from relevant stakeholders on the Essequibo Coast.

“While it is a slight bit challenging, I want to use this opportunity to make an appeal for persons to open their hearts for children who are in the need of a better place to live,” Sealey urged.

For 2018, more than 4,900 child abuse cases, fuelled by neglect and other social ills, were recorded. Of this number, 2,400 were as a result of neglect. Up to January, 400 cases were reported with 122 being of a sexual nature.

According to ChildLink researcher Samantha Alleyne, “national statistics compiled by the Childcare and Protection Agency confirmed that abuse of children, both physical and sexual, start from as young as zero to three [years old]. The data indicates that the sexual abuse of girl children remains high in the country. The number of reported cases is as follows; 801 in 2018, 392 in 2017 and 616 in 2016. Similarly, cases reported for boy children were 179 in 2018, 442 in 2017 and 118 in 2016.”