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Gage-Grey encourages greater vigilance of children during back to school

Published:Thursday | September 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Fresh from summer holidays, students from St Aloysius Primary in downtown Kingston pose for the camera after their first day of school on Monday, September 3.
Janya Johnson, of St Aloysius Primary School, shelters from the sun in a floppy hat as she makes her way home after the first day at school. She was walking along Beeston Street, downtown Kingston, in the company of her mother.

With the start of another school year under way, Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, is reminding parents, guardians and caregivers of their duty to protect their children, in keeping with the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA) 2004.

She said that over the years, there is a noticeable trend for parents to accompany children to school during the first few weeks in the school year, which gradually tapers off throughout the rest of the year.

"While we understand the many responsibilities and demands of parenting, in particular for those employed, we encourage that appropriate arrangements are made to ensure the safety of children at all times," Gage-Grey said.

She stressed that the issue of parental neglect is of grave concern, and is a contributing factor to the number of children reported missing.

Statistics from the Office of the Children's Registry indicated that during the period of January to June 2018, 813 reports of missing children were made.

Of that number, 75 per cent of the children reported missing were females.

The data also revealed that approximately eight out of every 10 children reported missing in the period have since been found and returned home.

Referring to the recent spate of violence against the nation's children, she is therefore calling for greater vigilance on the part of parents during this time and shares the following safety tips.


Safety tips to parents


- Accompany your child/children continuously to school; which is a form of bonding.

- Arrange reliable pick-up and drop-off arrangements with friends or families.

- Engage your child/children in discussions about child abuse and explain how to identify signs of abuse.

- Teach your child about road safety when travelling from school, which involves proper road usage of pedestrian crossings, walking in groups, staying alert; and avoid playing on roads, loitering, as well as lonely paths.

-Monitor and limit your child's social and Internet use so that they can be more focused on their studies.


Safety tips to children


- As you begin the start of your new school year, the CPFSA wishes for you a productive year, filled with many excellent learning opportunities.


Here are some ways to keep safe


- Do not talk to strangers.

- Avoid walking with gadgets or monies.

- Walk in groups if you have to walk to and from home or school.

- Do not walk on lonely paths.

- Let your parents know your whereabouts at all times.

- If you are being bullied, report it to your parents, teacher, school principal or guidance counsellor.

- If your classmate shows signs of abuse, report it to your teacher or guidance counsellor or call 1-888PROTECT (1-888- 76-8328).