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Hanna wants report on sex education programme in children's homes

Tuesday, June 17, 2014    

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MINISTER of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna yesterday demanded answers from the Child Development Agency (CDA) about an unauthorised sexual education programme being implemented by Jamaicans For Justice in six privately operated children's homes.

The CDA, which has responsibility for the regulation of children's homes and places of safety, said last week that it only became aware of the programme through a newsletter issued recently by JFJ, a local human rights group.

Hanna, in a letter to CEO of the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, asked for an explanation surrounding the circumstances which led to the programme being implemented for eight or nine months without the agency's knowledge, as well as the suitability of the material for the children.

Hanna said that as an agency with responsibility for the safety, well-being and protection of children, the CDA must ensure that they are exposed only to age-appropriate information in their best interests, as well as material and information which are consistent with regulations governing the care of wards of the state.

According to the minister, an initial report suggested that the content and material used in the sexual education programme may not have been age-appropriate, which, she said, would be a severe breach of the operating guidelines for children's homes upon which licences were granted.

Hanna said that she has already received the names of the homes that are implementing the programme and will report to the public on the findings of the CDA.

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