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International Safeguarding Children’s Conference for Ocho Rios

Published:Tuesday | April 25, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston

On May 25-26, One Step Forward Consultancy a United Kingdom (UK)-based organisation in association with the British High Commission and Victoria Climbie Foundation (UK) will be hosting the International Safeguarding Children Conference 2017 at the Shaw Park Beach Hotel Ocho Rios.

Slated to be held under the theme 'What Are Your Footprints Leaving For Our Children to Follow?, the conference has attracted influential local and overseas based specialists in children's welfare.

Director of One Step Forward Consultancy Patricia McKenzie-Thomas, in commenting on the upcoming conference, noted that it is important that all stakeholders recognise the impression that our actions leave on children who are dependent on us for safeguarding their interests and development.

"We cannot advocate in the public space for certain behaviours and policy changes if we are not leading by example. We cannot say but not do. It matters that we display integrity in our personal and professional actions. The media also has a role to play in how matters of child welfare are investigated by journalists and how they are reported so we will also be exploring that aspect of our footprints at this year's conference."

Thomas said the conference will be continuing its tradition of adopting non-traditional participatory methods, to ensure the message of safeguarding children is communicated effectively to all stakeholders involved in the field of child protection and welfare.

Jamaican actress Terri Salmon, who has been working with at-risk youth through the performing arts, is also on board this year and her NGO, Youth for Arts & Recreational Development, and will perform at the event.




"I believe we need to share information on quality assurance, risk assessment; investigations and transferring of skills and knowledge of inter-agencies in our international working with families as we work in a world that has become much smaller in aspects of social media, reality TV and cult viewing of satanic practices fill our homes and minds of the family throughout the world," said Thomas, who was born of Guyanese parents and has been visiting Jamaica for "many years", said.

"Among the new initiatives are social work training and placements during Child Month and beyond of overseas based social workers, trainees, interns, students and other young people involved in children's services. While introducing work/placements that will allow overseas professionals, students and youth workers to come to Jamaica to share with and exchange experiences with local counterparts," Thomas said.