Green keen on Child Month expansion
Heightened private and civil partnership to facilitate the expansion of Child Month activities beyond the confines of 31 days is atop the agenda of Floyd Green, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
In noting several successes centred on children in the just-concluded month of May, Green told The Gleaner that it was crucial that the government agencies charged with the protection of children have a more robust presence during Child Month to bring about positive changes.
"We went on community walks across the island in a few hotspot communities, and [had] partnerships with NGOs, the churches, and companies. We want to broaden that scope next year," said Green.
"A hands-on approach usually works best. You have to take the message in the streets, to the communities, in order to get some of those reports (of abused or missing children). It is integral to remind parents and adults of their responsibility under law to protect children."
Green pointed to the international partnership forged with Facebook to help locate missing minors, the first staging of the Ananda Alert National Missing Children's Forum, and the child managers event as high points in the month of May.
"We're the first country in the Caribbean and 11th country overall to embark on this path with Facebook, so that was special," Green told The Gleaner.
Also, some excellent suggestions came from the missing children's forum, as we made it clear that they were presenting to the Government, they're not just doing this for show. We're really taking their suggestions seriously, and I've already asked my team to explore the feasibility of some of the suggestions," he added, while voicing his agreement for suggestions made for tougher sanctions for particular acts of violence.
"We have the joint select committee that is really looking at tougher sanctions, and without a doubt, there are some penalties that aren't sending a strong enough signal for the committed offence and, as a country, we need sanctions that show that we won't tolerate certain acts."
An area of immediate focus for Green is also that of children with special needs and empowering parents to better assist and care for these children.