Children are truly gifts from God- precious, fragile, insightful and dependent on parents and caregivers for love, support, guidance, care and protection. They have rights of provision, protection and participation-they needs are to be met, they should be sheltered from exploitation and danger and they should be allowed to freely express themselves in positive, structured and creative ways.
As we celebrate child's month this May, I encourage all adults to foster positive relationships with our children by ensuring that their rights are protected, even as we strive to teach them to be responsible and the engender in them the spirit of independence. Our children deserve to treasured as the gifts they are, even though sometimes their actions can provoke responses from us that are not the preferred or desired options to produce the positive reinforcements our young ones so often yearn for. How we respond when we are tempted to react negatively or forcefully when our children deviate from the morally or socially acceptable norms and behaviours could be the deciding factor between preserving and endangering them.
Do we set the right examples for them by dealing with challenges in a rationale and caring way? Or do we try to teach them lessons we ourselves were taught growing up because we think "what doesn't kill you, make you stronger" or stick and stones may break my bones but words can't bring me down?" Do we invariably pass on abuse in its different forms of child labour, child trafficking, neglect, physical, sexual and emotional just because we grew up experiencing or witnessing same and we are around to tell l the tales?
A message from Mr. Greig Smith
Registrar, Office of the Children's Registry
Message from the Registrar
Ananda Alert System is Jamaica's Child Recovery Strategy which was modeled off the Amber Alert System in the United States of America (USA). Learn more here
For the period, January to September 2013, the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) received eight thousand five hundred and twenty seven (8,527) reports of child abuse, representing an increase of 32% over the same period in 2012.
For statistical data on missing children, click here
Parents, caregivers, let us choose to make a difference, choose to be the change.
Too many of our children continue to support abuse and other negative circumstances. Preliminary data for the period January to June, 2013 indicating a worrying trend as for the six month period the OCR received a total of six thousand two hundred and six (6, 206) reports of known or suspected cases of child abuse. Of equal concern is the figures for missing children for January to March 2014 which indicate that a total of five hundred and two (502) children went missing for the period, three hundred and nine (309) returned safely, one hundred and ninety three (193) are still missing and two (2) have been confirmed dead. This is the sad reality we all need to work together to change. I encourage you all to "Be the change, speak out, protect our children."
We celebrate child's month annually as a time when children are the focus of many activities and programme and are given a chance to shine. Children: exercise your rights and responsibilities. Do not provoke your parents/ caregiver. Be smart. Be alert. Focus on achieving the dreams that will make you valuable contributors to the process of nation building. You are the legacy of investments from family and society and you have a responsibility to preserve that heritage for future generations. Do not be daunted by the challenges you face but rise above them and strive for excellence at all times. With hard work, commitment, the right approach and proper guidance you can be the success you were created to be if you believe in yourself and never give in to the pressures around you.
Be confident. Be open to positive criticism. Be mindful of the negative influences that can distract you from your goals and don't be afraid to seek help from trusted, responsible adults whose wisdom, experiences and examples can channel your lives on the paths to reaching your destinies.