Stephen Lashley, Minister of Family, discusses with participants??of the two-day consultation on??"The Changing Barbadian Society – Shaping a Brighter Tomorrow", today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

This island’s Child Care Board may be in for reform.

Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, disclosed that Government "is taking a very comprehensive look at the need to reform the Child Care Board".

He made the comments today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre during a question and answer session at the two-day consultation on The Changing Barbadian Society – Shaping a Brighter Tomorrow.

He told the 170 people gathered for the discussion that the legislation governing the Board had been in place for "so many years without any real reform".

According to him, there was a need for protocols, not only to ensure that cases of child abuse were mandatorily reported, but to make sure there were enforcement mechanisms in that area. "A Mandatory Reporting Protocol is currently being looked at in collaboration with UNICEF …," he stated.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that statistics from the Child Care Board showed that there was a great need for concern about child abuse in Barbados.

"We recently had a meeting of CARICOM Ministers with responsibility for children and this [child abuse] is an issue that has been taken up at the regional level and we are going to be intensifying our look at this issue…

"The definition of child abuse has gone through a number of changes internationally, the standard has changed, which means that we have got to look at child abuse in so many ways… Sometimes the things that we don’t consider to be child abuse are in fact child abuse. So, we are taking a very comprehensive look at this," he declared.

During the official opening ceremony for the consultation, the Minister said the meeting would unveil the challenges that impacted on the potential of all Barbadian citizens.

"By using a multi-sectoral approach to defining societal issues, we aim to highlight positive values and best practices, as well as to suggest key corrective measures to address social challenges and problems.

"While work is currently being done within our respective ministries, this consultation brings us into one forum, ensuring that we are speaking in unison, which is essential to greater collaboration, coordination and understanding across ministerial boundaries," he stated.

Mr. Lashley reminded his audience that they were craftsmen of their fate, and encouraged them to consider the important linkages between social developmental structures that equip Barbadians with the knowledge and skills needed to add to existing productive structures, so as to further economic development.

He urged: "Let us also consider those values and other facets of our society which we should uphold and look at the ways in which improvements may be made."

Tomorrow’s presentations will examine Responding to the Needs of Vulnerable Groups, Environmental Sustainability and Socio-Economic Empowerment and the Citizen.


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