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The Child Development Agency wishes to thank the following organisations

for their technical support in the development of this guide:


Bureau of Womens Affairs
Office of the Childrens Advocate
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Ministry of Health
Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse,
Ministry of National Security
Jamaica Constabulary Force, Ministry of National Security
Immigration, Citizenship and Passport Services, Ministry of National Security
Justice Reform Unit, Ministry of Justice
Core Curriculum Unit, Ministry of Education and Youth
Guidance and Counselling Unit, Ministry of Education and Youth
Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme, Ministry of Education and Youth
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
Council of Voluntary Social Services
Jamaica Coalition on the Rights of the Child
United Nations Childrens Fund

ACT RIGHT, TREAT ME RIGHT!


A guide based on the Child Care and Protection Act 2004
for children 13-18 years

Produced by the Child Development Agency,


with technical and financial support from the
United Nations Childrens Fund, Country Office for Jamaica

Copyright 2007
1

The CHILD CARE


and PROTECTION ACT
Can adults do anything they please to children? Should
someone hurt a child and get away with it? Are children
just as important as adults in this country?
These are questions that children sometimes ask based on the
things they see happening around them. The truth is every child
has rights! Jamaica has a law in place that helps to protect your
rights and to make sure that they are respected. It is called the
Child Care and Protection Act. This book tells children about the
Child Care and Protection Act 2004 and provides information on
the following:
1.

2.

3.

4.

What the Child Care and Protection Act says about


childrens rights - Page 6 - 11
The principles of the Child Care and Protection Act that
adults have to follow Page 12-19
How the Child Care and Protection Act protects children
in conflict with the law Page 20 - 22
How the Child Care and Protection Act protects children
who live in residential child care facilities Page 23 - 24

WHAT IS THE CHILD CARE


AND PROTECTION ACT?
Want to know what this law is all about?
Lets break it down one word at a time
CHILD:
Under this law, a child is anyone under the age of
18. Although this law gives a lot of responsibilities to
adults, it is really all about children.
CARE:
This law talks about the basic things children need in
order to enjoy a good standard of living. It tells your
parents how to CARE for you, by making sure you
have food, clothes, a home, health-care and an
education.
PROTECTION:
This law talks about the things that children need to
be PROTECTED from, such as abuse and neglect, or
drugs and alcohol. Your parents, teachers and other
adults must protect you. There are also special places,
like the Childrens Registry, the Office of the Childrens
Advocate and the Child Development Agency that
you can call if you need help.
ACT:
An Act is a law. Everyone has to do what a law says.
If someone breaks a law, they can be arrested or
ordered to pay a fine. Parents and other adults can
get counselling to help them change the way they
treat children, so that they dont break the law.
4

The Child Care and Protection Act covers three groups of


childrens rights:
1. PROTECTION RIGHTS:

2. PROVISION RIGHTS:


3. PARTICIPATION RIGHTS:

Rights that protect children from all types of


violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Rights that guarantee the basic things that children
need for their survival, growth and development.
Rights that ensure childrens views are considered
when making decisions that affect them and that
opportunities are provided for them to share their views.

PROTECTION RIGHTS
What Are Children Being Protected From?
All types of violence: for example gang violence and fighting in the home
or community.
Physical abuse: for example hitting, kicking, and punching or any type of
beating.
Emotional abuse: for example cursing, insulting or doing things to children
that make them feel bad about themselves.
Sexual abuse: for example when an adult, including family members,
molests a child or has sex with a child.
Neglect: for example when a child is abandoned, left alone or whose basic
needs are not being met.
Trafficking: for example when adults move children from one place to an
other to work in bars, go-go clubs and as helpers.

Child labour: Children under 13 years should not work for a living. Even up
to age 15, children should not work at nights or during school time. Children
should not be sent to beg on the streets.
Exposure to things that cause addiction: for example drugs, cigarettes,
rum, beer or any other strong drink.

What to do when your protection rights


are not respected?
Call the Childrens Registry at

1-888-PROTECT (1-888-776-8328)
7

PROVISION RIGHTS
Parents have a duty to make sure that children have all they need for their
survival, growth and development. This duty applies to all parents and
guardians, including foster parents and step-parents.
What should parents provide for their children?
Food
Clothes
Health care
A home no child should be living or begging on the streets
An education all children between ages 4 and 16 must attend school
What happens when your provision rights are not being met?
A child who is living in such poor condition that their basic rights and
needs are not being met is in need of care and protection.
Parents who neglect children by not looking after their basic needs can
be punished under the law.
If parents are too poor and cannot meet the basic needs of their
children, they can get help from various government programmes.

If you or someone you know is in need of


care and protection:
Call the Childrens Registry at

1-888-PROTECT (1-888-776-8328)
9

10

PARTICIPATION RIGHTS

Children should be given a chance to


participate and say how they feel about decisions
that affect them.
Any child can participate in making a decision,
once they have a point of view and can say how
they feel.
To participate fully, children should have all of the
information they need to make a decision and
adults should make sure that children can
understand the things that will affect them.

When was the last time you


participated in a
decision that affected you?

11

12

POWER PRINCIPLES

This section talks about some of the important


principles on which the Child Care and Protection
Act is based.
These are called power principles because they
give us the power to understand the rules and how
to apply them correctly.
These are:


1. The best interests of the child


2. Importance of the family
3. Non-discrimination

The Child Care and Protection Act covers three types


of childrens rights. Do you remember what they are?

13

THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD

The best interests of a child is the most important principle. When parents, teachers, other adults and government make decisions that affect children, they should
always find out what is in their best interest and follow it.

14

15

IMPORTANCE OF THE FAMILY


What the Child Care and Protection Act says about
children and their families:
The family is the best place for raising a child.
Where families are having problems, they should be
given the help they need to provide a better life for
their children.
Both parents are responsible for their children, even if
they do not live together.
Other family members that live with a child (foster
parents, step-parents, grand-parents and others) are
also responsible for protecting and providing for the
child.
Parents have the biggest duty to protect children.
Parents also have the biggest duty to provide their
children with the basic things they need.
Parents must not abuse or harm children.
Parents must keep children safe from harmful accidents
in the home, such as drowning, getting burnt or drinking
poison.
Children should only be separated from their families
when there is no other alternative.

16

17

NON-DISCRIMINATION

Children should enjoy their rights without discrimination.


Discrimination happens when some children are treated
differently from others, because of:
Their race or the colour of their skin
Their gender (boys treated better or worse than girls)
Their social class or how much money their parents
have
The political party that their parents support
Where they live
Physical or mental disabilities

Can you think of other reasons why people sometimes


treat some children differently from others?

18

19

CHILDREN IN CONFLICT
WITH THE LAW
Children who are arrested or charged with committing a crime are
protected by the law. They have rights and should not be ill-treated.
Here are some of the things that the Child Care and Protection Act says
about children in conflict with the law:
When a child is in police custody, the childs parents and the Child
Development Agency must be contacted immediately and every
effort must be made to ensure that there are no delays in removing the
child from that environment.
If a child is arrested, the police should contact the Child Development
Agency, which will send a social worker to visit the child.
Children should not be kept in jail. They should be sent to special
remand centres and correctional centres that are just for children.
They should not be put into the same jail or prison as adult criminals.
If a child needs legal help, the Childrens Advocate can help him/her
to get a lawyer.
Even while they are in court, children must be kept separately from
adults who are being tried.
When a child goes to court, it is a private matter. Only special persons,
like attorneys and journalists, can attend, and they cannot use the
childs name outside of the court. Parents or guardians should also go
to court with their children.
Even if a child is found guilty, the court can do different things to help,
like ensuring that the child gets counselling.

20

21

A COURT JUST FOR US!


The Child Care and Protection Act sets up a special court
called the Childrens Court. This Court rules on cases that involve any person under 18 years. There are two (2) main types
of cases:
1. Children who come to court because they have been charged
with a crime.
2. Children who come to court because they are in need of care
and protection.
In every case, this Court will act in the best interest of the child.
Here are some more facts about this Childrens Court:
It helps to separate childrens cases from adult trials by keeping
the Childrens Court on a different day or time from other
activities in the parish court house.
It keeps childrens cases private.
It has to look at different ways of helping children, not just
sending them to a childrens home or a childrens correctional
centre.

22

HOW DOES THE CHILD CARE AND


PROTECTION ACT PROTECT
CHILDREN IN RESIDENTIAL CHILD
CARE FACILITIES?
Under the Child Care and Protection Act, children living in residential child care
facilities or with foster parents have special rights. Foster parents and persons
working in residential child care facilities have the same duties as natural
parents. They have to show children love, take care of their needs and protect
them from harm.
Checklist for children in residential child care facilities or foster care
All children should get the same care no child should be treated better
or worse than others.
Children should be given a chance to express their views about major
decisions that affect them.
Children should be given some privacy and be allowed to keep their
private belongings.
Children should be able to see a doctor, dentist or psychologist as the
need arises.
Children should be allowed to play and get involved in social activities.
Children should get religious guidance and be able to practice their religion.
Children should be disciplined without the use of physical punishment.
Children should be able to talk with family members or a lawyer in private.
Children should be taught about their rights and how they can be
enforced.
Children should know all about the Childrens Advocate, and should be
allowed to talk to the Advocate if they feel that their rights are not being
respected.

23

WHOSE JOB IS IT?


Whose job is it to make sure childrens rights under the Child Care
and Protection Act are put into practice?
Parents:

Parents have the main duty to take care of childrens needs


and make sure that they are protected from harm. They must
make sure their children have food, clothes, a place to live,
an education and health care. They must make sure that noone is abusing their child/children.

The Child
Development
Agency:

The Child Development Agency is an office within the


government that looks out for all children who are in need of
care and protection. The Child Development Agency has
Childrens Officers in every parish who go into schools and
communities to make sure that children are safe. Call them at
948-6678.

The Childrens
Advocate:

The Childrens Advocate makes sure that the Government is


doing its duty to protect children and is listening to their views.
The Advocate can also get a lawyer to help children whose
rights are affected by anyone working for the government
such as teachers, policemen and doctors or nurses. Call them
at 948-1293, 948-3278, 948-3771, 967-5890 or 967-3225.

The Police:

When adults fail to obey the Child Care and Protection Act,
they can be arrested and charged by the police. The police
can also help to rescue children who are being harmed in
their homes and communities. Call them at 119 or 926-7318.

Persons
Working with
Children:

Persons who work with children (teachers, guidance


counselors, doctors, nurses, dentists and day care centre
workers) should make sure that children are being
protected from harm.

The Community: Any adult (such as a neighbour or pastor, etc.) can protect
a child by making a report, if they think that the child is being
harmed or needs care and protection.

24

BRAIN TEASERS
Unscramble each of the clue words. Each word represents something
from which children are protected by the Child Care and Protection Act.
Use the letters that appear in the circles to unscramble the final message
and complete the title sentence.

The Child Care and Protection Act Protects Children From...

GENELTC
SABUE
CINTFAGIFRK
HICLD RUOLAB
LESSOHMEESSN
SNCITE
DUGSR
CEOINELV
GEGBING
NAGSG
Answer

Final Message: ABUSE AND HARM


Jumble: 1. NEGLECT 2. ABUSE 3. TRAFFICKING 4. CHILD LABOUR 5. HOMELESSNESS

6. INCEST 7. DRUGS 8. VIOLENCE 9. BEGGING 10. GANGS

25

Children Have Rights!


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The Child Care and Protection Act helps to fulfill the rights of children.
Can you find the following rights in the jumble of letters above?
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26

A Family
A Home
An Advocate
Clothing
Education
Food

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Health care
Legal Help
Non-discrimination
Participation
Privacy
Protection

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Hint: This is something adults must think about when they need to make a
decision that will affect a child.

SOLUTION

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The Child Development Agency would like to thank the children, parents
and teachers of the following schools and youth organisations for their
involvement in the testing and development of this guide:

SCHOOLS

YOUTH ORGANISATIONS

Black River High School


Bogue Hill All Age
Cornwall College
Dinthill Technical
Drapers All Age
Fellowship Junior High
Guys Hill High
Herbert Morrison
Horizon Park Primary
Jamaica College
Mona High School
Mt. Alvernia High
Mt. Morland Primary
Mt. Salem Primary
Nain Primary and Junior High
Ocho Rios High School
Port Antonio High
Rosemount Primary
Runaway Bay All Age
Sligoville All Age
St. Elizabeth Technical High School
Steer Town Primary and Junior High
Titchfield High School

Girl Guides Association


Scouts Association of Jamaica
Children First
The Salvation Army
Hope for Children Development
Company Ltd.
Youth Opportunities Unlimited
RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE FACILITIES
Musgrave Child Care Facility
Sunbeam Childrens Home

29

1-888-PROTECT
(1-888-776-8328)

Produced by
the Child Development Agency
Kingston, Jamaica
with the technical and financial support of
the United Nations Childrens Fund
Country Office Jamaica

Text by : Tania Chambers

Illustrated by: Aura Technologies