New child-protection agency formed from merger of CDA, OCR
The problems of accountability and delays in dealing with child abuse cases are expected to come to an end after Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, revealed that the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) have now merged to become the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).
The CDA is mandated to provide care and protection for children at risk, while the OCR is to receive and record, assess, and refer all cases of child abuse. In 2013, the Ananda Alert programme dealing with missing children was added to the OCR. After receiving these reports, the CDA and the Office of the Children's Advocate follow up for investigation and action.
Speaking at the launch of New Reports on Violence against Children, which was hosted by the United Nations Children's Fund in collaboration with other stakeholders at the University of the West Indies, Mona, yesterday, Green said the merger, which became effective yesterday, would see tremendous improvement in the turnaround time in investigations, reducing the significant case loads.
"One of the problems we had was that one entity would take the report and then another entity would investigate. What you now have is one entity that would make it seamless from start to end, so the report will go to one place, and as such, the investigator will link with the person collecting the report. This will result in a much quicker turnaround time in terms of intervention with our children," the minister said.
"Now that you have the process in one shop, you will have a seamless accountability framework, a transparent framework, that when a report of child abuse comes in, we know the process that we go through, and we will be more efficient to take care of that."
A press briefing will be held next week to further outline the phases of the merger.