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Share child behaviour history with CDA! - Agency wants basic screening instrument developed to document child behaviour

Published:Monday | May 11, 2015 | 5:00 AM

Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the Child Development Agency (CDA), wants closer collaboration with guidance counsellors in the nation's schools and the CDA officers, which would provide a platform to share information about troubled children.

She said this partnership was an absolute necessity, because in too many instances children referred from schools to CDA come with no history. She believes it would help if the CDA had at least some basic information with which to work.

"We think there should be some basic borderline screening instrument utilised in schools, which can be shared with the CDA. This is essential because sometimes when the children develop issues and are referred to the CDA, there is no history. It would be very helpful if there is some point of reference, so that CDA does not have to start from scratch," Gage-Grey told The Gleaner, following the conclusion of an Editors' Forum last Friday at the newspaper's North Street, Kingston office.

According to her, if such a tool is not already in place within the schools, the agencies and their officials should be able to develop one that will contain some basic data that will assist CDA officials whenever they must intervene to save a child.

Gage-Grey stressed that both the schools and the CDA have the same goals when it comes to the nation's children, which is looking out for their best interest and welfare. It is a greater good, she said, which could very well save them from abuse, and sometimes save them from themselves.

"However, we understand the reluctance of the guidance counsellors in the schools to share information. After all, this information was given in confidence and the counsellors do not want to breach the confidence of their young charges," she explained.

She added, "Invariably we find that some of the children referred to us also have issues in their schools as well. They may be skipping school, or have been performing very well and that performance suddenly drops. They may become withdrawn or begin acting out in ways that have them referred to the guidance counsellors. They usually have all of that documented, but when they come to us no history comes with them."

She is confident that some understanding will be reached between Lisa Hanna and Ronald Thwaites in their ministries of Youth and Culture, and Education, respectively.

"I think we all know that both ministers Hanna and Thwaites are very passionate about the children. The interest of children to both is paramount. They will move mountains to make a difference," assured Gage-Grey.

- Erica Virtue