Monday, April 22, 2024

Child champion’s call for help

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UNICEF champion and newly elected member of the global body United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Faith Marshall-Harris, is calling on charitable organisations and volunteers to assist young adults transitioning from children’s homes.

Marshall-Harris said she noted that Eric Smith, the Nation’s Editor-in-Chief, in a recent column in the Midweek Nation

called on her to lend her voice to the problem of institutionalised children, having reached 16 years of age, being left to their own devices on leaving those institutions.

She indicated that research into this matter revealed that according to the Child Care Board, who is responsible for children’s homes, that agency tries to ensure that from the time a child enters the children’s home, they make every attempt to return those children to the community by way of adoption, foster care or placing them with fit people in the community.

“If this does not happen before the child reaches 18, the Child Care Board starts to place them in transitional cottages, particularly those who are working and can partially support themselves.

“Those who can benefit from further education, such as Barbados Community College and Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology, the board would make an assessment on a case by case basis to continue their support in this transitional or independent living. For both groups this adds up to them being gently launched into the mainstream of society,” she said.

Marshall-Harris pointed out that despite all of the above being undertaken by the state, they may be those who still fall through the cracks and she therefore urged charitable organisations and volunteers to assist those youngsters to ensure they are properly relaunched into the community and can become productive citizens.

“We all have to come to the aid of the state and our young people in this endeavour,” she said. (AC)

Child rights advocate

Faith Marshall-Harris. (FP)

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