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Over 40,000 calls to Children’s Authority in two years
Yesterday made it two years since the Children’s Authority of T&T became operational.
In that time, the agency has received more than 40,000 calls from the public. Of these, 10,000 have been identified as potential cases of child abuse. However, in some instances the hotline may have received multiple reports of abuse regarding one child. Therefore, the investigation aspect of the Authority’s work is critical to identifying whether a child is at risk or a victim of abuse or neglect.
At present almost 8,000 cases are getting attention from the Authority. More than 3,000 investigations have been completed and more than 700 families have been counselled.
Additionally, the Authority has licensed nine children’s homes and more than 300 visits have been conducted at more than 40 community residences throughout T&T to ensure compliance with legislative standards.
In a statement marking its second anniversary, the Authority said it is “greatly aware that there is a distressing level of unmet needs. This has been exacerbated by the inadequacy of infrastructure, manpower, finances, accommodation for children in conflict with the law, transition homes, facilities for children with special needs, as well as a high case load and limited placement options for children in imminent danger.”
The statement continued: “Despite these drawbacks, the Authority is thankful for the support given by the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) to help it deliver services to children and their families. The collaboration with various agencies within the child protection sector has also been critical to the Authority in delivering on its mandate.
“The Authority has also increased public education on how to identify signs of child abuse and the role of parents and guardians in preventing child abuse. It is hoped that this outreach and continued partnership will bring about a positive change in the way children are cared for and protected.”
Anyone who suspects child abuse can call the Police at 999 or the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014.