Children’s Registry to open Westmoreland parish office
THE Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) will be opening a parish office in Westmoreland on January 20 as the agency continues to extend its reach across the island.
The establishment of the Westmoreland parish office, which will be based in Savanna-la-Mar, will be one of the highlights of the agency's activities to mark its seventh anniversary this month, under the theme: 'Be the change: Speak out, protect our children'.
The anniversary celebrations also include a church service on January 19 at the Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ, 31 South Camp Road, Kingston; sensitisation sessions in residential child-care facilities; the launch of new mission and vision statements and a child-friendly website; issuing of a newsletter; and the staging of 'pon de corner' reasoning sessions.
Registrar at the OCR, Greig Smith, who announced the activities in his New Year's message, said the agency will also be making every effort to continue its school tours and expand its Child Ambassadors Programmes. These initiatives, launched in 2012, are aimed at getting children involved in the effort to reduce child abuse.
Smith, in the meantime, has commended citizens who assist the OCR by reporting incidents of abuse. "To date, we have collected over 40,000 reports of child abuse. Of this number, more than 8,000 such reports were received during 2013," he stated.
In addition, he said the agency has received 66 reports of missing children since the Ananda Alert system was transferred to the OCR on March 1, 2013. The Ananda Alert seeks to ensure the safe and speedy recovery of missing children.
The 66 reports, Smith said, "formed part of a total of 2,034 reports of missing children, which were received by the Missing Persons Call Centre (Jamaica Constabulary Force) between January and November 2013. Of this amount, 1,621 were recovered."
The OCR, which began operations in January 2007, is responsible for receiving, recording and assessing reports of child abuse and referring agencies for investigation and action.