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Job description of CDA head draws ire

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Two interest groups are raising concerns over the job description for the chief executive officer of the Child Development Agency (CDA) detailed on the Ministry of Health's website.

Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and Hear the Children's Cry have called for the immediate withdrawal and complete overhaul of the job description, saying that it appears oblivious of the need for the CDA head to have as his or her primary responsibility the best interests of the nation's children.

The groups said the description instead focuses on what is best for the CDA in attaining its "corporate goals and objectives".

"The job description outlined also fails to insist on training and practical experience in social work or child psychology as a requirement for the job. The Ministry of Health and the office of the Services Commission appear to have their priorities skewed," the groups stated in a joint press release recently.

The groups said the care and protection of Jamaica's children should be the foremost responsibility of the CEO of the CDA instead of being, as now outlined, the ninth,13th and 14th priorities.

It stated that as outlined, the job description was unlikely to attract capable and committed persons with the requisite skills, integrity and commitment to the development of children rather than the development of the CDA.

"Need we remind the minister of the Armadale tragedy and the continuing abuse of children occurring under the watch of the CDA?" the joint release queried.

Properly structured

"Must we point out the need to ensure that the CDA is properly structured, led and managed to enable it to properly protect the children presently in its care and ensure the efficient management of the services to be transferred to it?" the release further read.

The groups are calling for the ministry to immediately withdraw an advertisement for the position and replace it with one which will clearly outline the primacy of the protection of children in the job of the CEO of the CDA.

Last month, Alison Anderson-McLean quit the position as head of CDA, ending a six-year tenure.