No evidence CDA routinely checks educational materials in children's homes - report
Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
The Auditor General's Department says a probe of the Child Development Agency (CDA) has found no evidence indicating that the agency routinely reviews educational materials in children's homes.
The CDA is the government agency responsible for the regulation of children's homes and places of safety.
The finding from the Pamela Monroe Ellis-led department was contained in an audit report on the activities of the CDA tabled in the Parliament this afternoon.
The report contained seven findings, all of which were related to the CDA’s reporting and oversight responsibilities.
The auditor general says her office reviewed 142 monitoring checklists from 20 childcare facilities, between 2011 and 2014.
She says nothing was found on 113 checklists that monitoring officers conducted any assessment or review of the educational programmes at childcare facilities.
Monroe Ellis says the absence of routine reviews could contribute to the use of inappropriate and unauthorised teaching materials in childcare.
Under the Child Care and Protection Act, childcare facilities must seek approval from the relevant minister regarding education programmes conducted in their facilities.
The law says it is the responsibility of monitoring officers, during their routine visits, to conduct a review and assessment of the educational programmes, to ensure they conform to the minister’s approval.
The disclosure from the auditor general comes six months after revelations that a human rights group was able to conduct a sex education programme in six children’s homes without the knowledge of the CDA or Youth Minister Lisa Hanna.
In a press release in June, the CDA said it was taken aback when it found that Jamaicans for Justice was pursuing a programme in the homes without permission.
The course titled 'Healthy Sexual Growth and Development in Marginalized Youth: Rights, Responsibilities and Life Skills', created a firestorm because of revelations it included material on anal and oral sex.
A preliminary report had noted that children in some of the homes may have been exposed to content that might not have been appropriate for their age.
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