of Social Development Amery Browne is assuring that the
long-overdue Childrens Authority will be fully functional
before the end of the year.
The Ministers assurance comes in the wake of several
accusations levelled at the Government for its failure to
implement the Childrens Authority Act, which has been
in limbo for seven years.
The original act, which was passed in October 2000, contains
more than 40 clauses.
In an interview with the Guardian after Parliaments
sitting on Friday, Browne said the Amendment Bill of 2008
was in preparation.
bill will amend the act and put in place legislation for
the establishment of a functioning Childrens Authority
Browne admitted the Childrens Authority Act was incomplete
and insufficient, which he said was why T&T had
been witnessing an upsurge in child abuse cases.
have been calls by various NGOs and sectors of society,
for some time, for this package of child legislation. And
as the new Minister of Social Development, I am committed
to doing this in the shortest space of time, said
lot of work has been done by social workers who have intervened
in cases of suspected child abuse, and many of these children
have been placed in safe homes.
Questioned about the criteria used in placing children in
these so-called safe homes and the allegations
of child abuse reported at various childrens institutions
across the country, he said:
of the roles of the Childrens Authority is to monitor
and evaluate all community residences, foster homes and
nurseries, and to license these homes under the Childrens
The Childrens Authority Act sets out to act as the
guardian of the nations children. It calls on the
authority to investigate complaints and reports of mistreatment
of children under 18.
Supporting legislation for the effective operation of a
Childrens Authority include the following:
* the Childrens Bill;
* the International Adoption Bill;
* the Family Court (amendment) Bill, 2007;
* the Childrens Community Residences, Foster Homes
and Nurseries Bill; and,
* the Status of Children Bill. MM