OCR appoints ambassadors to help raise awareness about child abuse
THE Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) has selected nine youngsters who will serve as OCR Child Ambassadors and aid in its child abuse public education campaign.
The child ambassadors were appointed by the Minister of Youth and Culture, the Honourable Lisa Hanna on Friday, February 8, 2013 at the Spanish Court Hotel, St Andrew.
Six regional child ambassadors were selected from a group of applicants for the Child Ambassadors' Programme, which was launched in May 2012.
In addition, three other children who have worked with the OCR and demonstrated a high level of interest and commitment were also appointed as Associate Child Ambassadors. All nine child ambassadors will volunteer with the OCR for a minimum of one year and help to promote the reporting of child abuse.
In her keynote address at the awards ceremony, Minister Hanna congratulated the OCR team on the stellar work in introducing this programme aimed at promoting child participation. In reference to the Child Care & Protection Act (CCPA), Minister Hanna stated that "children are capable of forming their own views and that the weight given to these views is one of the factors used to determine whether a child's best interest is being served".
She noted that the Ministry of Youth and Culture and the OCR are committed to serving the best interests of children and the OCR's Child Participation Programmes will ensure that "the experiences, situations and knowledge of the Child Ambassadors are taken into consideration when forming policy directions".
Minister Hanna also congratulated the children on their achievement and pointed out that their decision to participate was "an indication of their commitment to protecting the interests of their peers who may be suffering in silence".
Children's Registrar Greig Smith expressed his satisfaction with his staff and the work they have put into the initiatives and noted that this was a major step in the OCR's continued efforts to promote child participation.
The Child Ambassadors' Programme was one of two child participation initiatives launched by the OCR as part of its fifth anniversary activities in 2012, with the other initiative being a Jingle Competition.
Due to the superior quality of the entries submitted, two winning jingles were selected and eight other finalists received commendations. The two winning jingles will be integrated in the OCR's public education campaign.
Both programmes targeted children between 10-17 years old and are aimed at getting more children involved in the fight against child abuse. Over 100 applications were received for both programmes.