Family Court committed to its mandate – Justice Blake-Powell

Family Court committed to its mandate – Justice Blake-Powell

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Senior Parish Court Judge, Kingston and St Andrew Family Court, Justice Paula Blake-Powell, says the court is committed to its mandate of building strong Jamaican families.

“We have families breaking up and families breaking down, but the role of our court is to keep the family together and we will stop at nothing to carry out our mandate,” she said.

Blake-Powell was speaking at the annual Parenting Exposition hosted by the Court on Friday (December 6) at its premises on Duke Street, downtown Kingston.

The Family Court is a special court established under the Judicature (Family Court) Act. It is responsible for all legal proceedings relating to family life, except for divorce. It differs from other courts in that its structure includes social services.

Matters dealt with by the Family Court include adoption, childcare and protection, custody and testamentary guardianship of children, declaration of paternity – live (DNA) and deceased, domestic violence, maintenance, property rights of spouses and youth delinquency.

In addition to this, the court uses a number of interventions aimed at restoring and strengthening the family unit. This includes family counselling, a family court attendance centre, a parenting school and a children’s drug treatment programme.

For the first time this year, staff members of the Family Court were trained in the National Parenting Support Commission’s parenting curriculum to better assist parents accessing the Court’s Parenting School service.

“A Parenting School at the Kingston and St Andrew Family Court is very important. When we look at the types of matters and the various challenges that we are experiencing, it is obvious that we need to pull our parents aside to be better at the craft of parenting,” Blake-Powell said.

The Senior Parish Court Judge said despite the challenges, the Kingston and St Andrew Family Court remains steadfast in its mandate to provide services that support healthy families.

The first Family Court was set up in Kingston on December 18, 1975. Because of the great demand on its services, another Court was set up in Montego Bay, with sub-courts in Lucea and Westmoreland.

A Family Court was established in Portmore, St Catherine, in 2000.


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