THE parliamentary Opposition and civil society stakeholders are among several organisations and persons who have been invited by Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna to serve on a Children Support Taskforce of volunteers.
Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness has been invited to name a representative. Representatives have also been invited to the Taskforce from Children First, Jamaicans for Justice, the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition, the Children Advisory Panel, National Secondary Students Council, National Family Planning Board, National Parent Teachers Association, Guidance Counsellors Association of Jamaica, Jamaica Teachers Association, Social Development Commission, Nurses Association of Jamaica, Medical Association of Jamaica, the Police Community Safety and Security Branch, Child Development Agency, the music industry, the Media Association of Jamaica, and Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.
The taskforce is expected to:
- Assist in building public awareness, knowledge and positive intent pertaining the care, protection and development of children in Jamaica;
- Through public education campaigns, mobilise positive public action in areas such as improved parenting, family planning, wholesome family life relations, child preventive and rehabilitative wellness; and generally to assist in creating a national commitment for helping all in the society become better nurturers of our children; as well as to
- Provide support to the ministry and its agencies, by way of actions and approaches, to fashioning and implementing possible solutions to issues affecting children.
The Rev Dr Marjorie Lewis, president of the United Theological College of the West Indies will chair the taskforce.
"I recognise that as the ministry continues to carry out its responsibility for Children Affairs and to implement its mandate to safeguard the well-being of children in need of care and protection, the mission on behalf of children can benefit greatly from the harnessing of the existing goodwill that transcends sector interests and political persuasions," Minister Hanna said.
In extending the invitation, Minister Hanna noted that during 2012 the Ministry in collaboration with various stakeholders made important gains in advancing the care and protection of Jamaica's children. She pointed out that apart from placing more wards of the state in wholesome family environments, along with providing critical support, her ministry was leading a focussed and coordinated Inter-Ministerial and Inter-Agency approach to children policy and programme implementation. She also made reference to renewed efforts to ensure the implementation of remaining recommendations of the Keating Report.
Minister Hanna has noted that despite these efforts significant work remains to be done at all levels to ensure the nurturing, protection, care and development of the nation's children.
In this regard, she said, many useful suggestions she has received confirm that there is a shared passion among many persons and organisations for improving the lives of Jamaica's children.