CPFSA in better position to reach abused children- CEO
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) is now in a better position to reach abused children, says chief executive officer (CEO) of the agency, Laurette Adams-Thomas.
Speaking at the recent opening of a child-friendly space located at the National Children’s Registry (NCR) in St Andrew, she noted that with eight spaces operating, increased support is now available for vulnerable children, “especially those affected by the scourge of trafficking. They can find solace, support, and the compassionate care they rightfully deserve”.
“The significance of these spaces cannot be overstated. They are designed to facilitate the sensitive interviewing and screening of suspected and confirmed victims of child trafficking. But beyond that, they embody a commitment to nurturing and a safe environment where children are heard, valued, and protected,” the CEO said.
She highlighted that the establishment of the facilities is part of a “larger tapestry of efforts” under the Child Protection Compact, a four-year collaborative endeavour between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the United States, with its aim being to fortify the nation’s ability to respond to the “harrowing issue of child trafficking”.
Adams-Thomas said the US-Jamaica Child Protection Compact is expanding the capacity of stakeholders, primarily along the three ‘Ps’ – Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.
Under the Compact, several other initiatives, inclusive of the child-friendly spaces, were funded and executed by the Warnath Group, and implementing partners, Winrock International and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Work included the development of a National Referral Mechanism and the training of social workers and psychologists in trauma-informed care for child-trafficking victims.
Included, too, was a child-trafficking institutionalisation initiative at the CPFSA, which involved the development of a Standard Operating Protocol for Child Victims and Survivors of Trafficking.
Child-friendly spaces have been established at the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) in Trelawny, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) in Kingston, the Ewarton Health Centre in St Catherine, and the Victim Services Division offices in Buff Bay, Portland and Mandeville, Manchester.
“The importance of these child-friendly spaces resonates deeply with the work we do at CPFSA. They are not just physical spaces; they represent our dedication to ensuring that every child in Jamaica feels safe, heard and protected. They embody our pledge to stand as guardians for those who need it most – our children,” Adams-Thomas said.