Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Henry-Wilson chairs committee to review children's homes

Published:Tuesday | July 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

CHAIRMAN OF the Child Development Agency (CDA) Advisory Board, Maxine Henry-Wilson, will head a committee set up by Youth Minister Lisa Hanna to review the operations of the six privately run children's homes in which unauthorised sexual-education material was introduced to children by Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ).

Hanna said the committee would examine "terms and conditions of the operational activities of the six homes involved, as well as the reports, documentation and opinions submitted".

The CDA conducted an investigation into the circumstances that led to the JFJ programme being implemented in the institutions without the knowledge of the agency or ministry.

The CDA found several breaches and concluded that parts of the training material were inappropriate for the age cohort.

The report of the review committee will not only inform Hanna's treatment of the apparent breaches at the six homes, but will also provide input for the review of the licensing regime for privately operated children's homes and places of safety.

The review committee is to submit a report to the minister within three weeks.

Other members of the committee are: Sadie Keating, adviser to the minister on children's affairs; Newton Douglas, director of policy planning and evaluation at the CDA; and Annaliesa Lindsay, attorney-at-law.

The children's home debacle has already led to the resignation of a number of board members of the JFJ as well as its chairman, Lisa Lakhan-Chen, and the executive director of the human-rights lobby, Kay Osborne.

Osborne made it clear in her resignation letter to Lakhan-Chen that JFJ's review of the controversial 'Healthy Sexual Growth and Development in Marginalised Youth: Rights, Responsibilities and Life Skills' course implemented in the homes had explicitly exonerated her from having knowledge or oversight of the programme.