A review of the salaries for the recently established Children’s Authority is under way, Gender, Youth and Child Development Minister Clifton De Coteau, said yesterday.
De Coteau was speaking with reporters at the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Council for the National Strategic Plan for Child Development at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
“One of the major considerations is that workers are yet to be regularised with the correct salaries and this is one of the things that we want to put in place. This is one of the major issues facing the Advisory Council of the National Strategic Plan for Child Development,” De Coteau said.
De Coteau said the assessment centres are also under way. He added that the Mt Hope centre is currently being outfitted, while St Madeleine and Chaguanas centres are expected to be completed by October this year. De Coteau said the Children’s Authority was expected to be fully operational by the middle of 2014.
De Coteau said the National Strategic Plan for Child Development places children at the centre of the ministry’s mandate, which seeks to ensure all boys and girls are happy, healthy and confident and that their rights are respected, protected and promoted.
“The overarching aim of the National Strategic Plan for children is to nurture, support and prepare all children for the future, regardless of the challenges they face. Consequently, the vision, as articulated in the National Strategic Plan for Child Development, places children at the centre of the ministry mandate. It seeks to ensure that all boys and girls are happy, healthy and confident and that their rights are respected, protected and promoted. This will in turn facilitate their holistic development and enable them to be active contributors to society. This shared vision provided the foundation on which to craft the strategic framework. This vision encompasses all aspect of the child’s life and thus requires corporation and devotion for all stakeholders,” De Coteau said.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, Raziah Ahmed outlined several issues of concern in relation to children. She said violence in schools is a growing problem, with 40 per cent of pupils claiming to be physically attacked one or more times during the school year.
She referred to the Rape Crisis Society report of 26 per cent or about a quarter of rapes that involved children between the ages of 12 and 17 and the prevalence of suicides in children between ages ten and 18.
“Researchers have shown that in general, the problems of child delinquency are related to inadequate child-rearing practices, home discord and child maltreatment. And that specific tendencies that precipitate delinquency in boys between ages seven to 13 are a high level of parent-child conflict, poor monitoring habits in the family and a low level of positive involvement with parents,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed said society cannot continue to turn a blind eye to social ills, and commended parents and religious and educational institutions for producing well-adjusted children.
“...Let us not forget to place credit where credit is due; there are by far a majority of well-adjusted children in our country and we pay tribute to the parents and the members of the extended family, the institutions such as the church and the schools,” Ahmed said.
Letters of appointment were given to members of the Advisory Council.