Court rules in favour of the Children’s Authority
The claim filed by former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan S.C. against the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, alleging that a child is being accommodated in circumstances that amount to solitary confinement, cruel and unusual punishment, and in breach of the child’s constitutional rights, was dismissed yesterday (July 26th, 2017) by Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Civil High Court.
The Court determined it is satisfied that the welfare of the child has been met, since the child has been in the Authority’s care.
The Authority assures the public that it will continue to work in the best interest of children.
Parents Be Alert!
Parents and caregivers are advised that it is dangerous to leave children unattended in places and with people whom they may consider harmless.
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is issuing the advice, as children begin their long vacation period.
The Authority notes that perpetrators of abuse tend to frequent places where they can have easy access to children. As such, the Authority is urging parents and caregivers to pay close attention to the adults their children interact with and to keep an open line of communication with children, so that they feel comfortable informing them of any inappropriate incidents.
Parents and guardians are also asked to allow their children to enjoy the holidays and not be placed with the burden of caring for their siblings. The Authority notes that too often unfortunate incidents take place when children are left to care for each other. The Authority advises that according to Section 4 of the Children Act, 2012, a person can also be charged with neglect for exposing a child “in a manner likely to cause that child suffering or injury to his physical, mental or emotional health”.
Meanwhile, the Authority commends members of the public who have highlighted cases of child abuse. It continues to urge citizens to report all incidents or suspicions of abuse to the Police at 999 or to the Authority’s hotline at 996 or 800-2014.
Children's Authority Appeals to the Media to be Sensitive and Responsible
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is concerned that there is erroneous information being circulated about the death of a child at its Child Support Centre, which can cause further trauma to the child’s family.
The Authority is therefore appealing to the media to ensure that their coverage on the issue is dealt with in a sensitive and responsible manner, which should also respect the privacy of the family.
Since the child’s death on Sunday 18th June, the Authority has been providing therapeutic support and counselling to the children at the Centre as well as staff.
The Authority continues to work with the child’s family during their loss.
The media are reminded that the Child Support Centre is a place of safety for children who are in need of care and protection. As a result, its location should not be divulged in order to maintain the safety of the children.
Children's Authority Saddened by Death of Child
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is deeply saddened by the unfortunate death of a child at our Child Support Centre.
At this time, the Authority is committed to the safety and well-being of the other children at the Centre and therapeutic support and counselling are being provided to the children as well as the staff at the Centre.
This situation is a reminder that despite consistent support and counselling, some of the children who are received into care are often troubled because they have undergone significant trauma.
The Authority is conducting investigations.
Children’s Authority in High Hopes Despite Challenges
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago will this week mark two years since becoming operational.
Armed with a mandate to provide care and protection to the nation’s children, the Authority’s staff has been working tirelessly to address the needs of children who come to its attention.
Since May 18, 2015 to now, the organisation has received more than 40 thousand calls from the public. However, of those calls, 10 thousand have been identified as potential cases of child abuse. It must be noted that in some instances the Authority’s hotline may have received multiple reports of abuse regarding one child. Therefore, the investigation aspect of the Authority’s work was critical to identifying whether a child was at risk or a victim of abuse or neglect.
To date, almost 8 thousand cases are receiving attention from the Authority. So far over 3 thousand investigations have been completed and more than 700 families have been counselled.
Additionally, the Authority has licensed nine children’s homes and over 300 visits have been conducted at more than 40 Community Residences throughout Trinidad and Tobago, to ensure compliance with legislative standards.
As the organisation marks its second Anniversary, it is greatly aware that there is a distressing level of unmet needs. This has been exacerbated by the inadequacy of infrastructure, manpower, finances, accommodation for children in conflict with the law, transition homes, facilities for children with special needs, as well as a high case load and limited placement options for children in imminent danger.
Despite these drawbacks, the Authority is thankful for the support given by the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) to help it deliver services to children and their families. The collaboration with various agencies within the child protection sector has also been critical to the Authority in delivering on its mandate.
The Authority has also increased public education on how to identify signs of child abuse and the role of parents and guardians in preventing child abuse. It is hoped that this outreach and continued partnership will bring about a positive change in the way children are cared for and protected.
Anyone who suspects child abuse can call the Police at 999 or the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014.