Government has re-activated its monitoring Committee on the Rights of the Child in keeping with its manifesto pledge of putting families first.  

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Maxine McClean, disclosed this today and pointed out that there were also plans to modernise the existing legislation to bring it in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

She made these revelations while delivering the feature address at the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Knowledge Building Through Partnerships End Year Forum at Hilton Barbados.  The forum, which attracted participants from as far away as Australia and Fiji, will over the next four days, address a number of issues including The Effects of Migration on Children; Social Policies for Children’s Rights in Small Island Developing States (SIDS’, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Inclusion of Young People into Policy Building: and Listening to Young People, among other topics.

Senator McClean also gave an insight into the committee’s programme for the next two years.

“The Government, through the Child Care Board, proposes to address the national reporting protocol for child protection and to develop a national children’s policy,” she disclosed .   

Noting that children would be impacted by the enactment of Government policies in one way or the other, the Minister pointed to the establishment of the Ministry of Family, Youth, Sport and the Environment as the agency to tackle those issues that affected children and the family in general.

“The Ministry of Family, Youth, Sport and Environment was created in recognition of the pivotal place of the family.  Thus, it sees the absolute necessity to focus on our children and our youth.”        
Senator McClean further stated that “beyond that, this configuration of the Ministry of Family, Youth, Sport and Environment, also sees the complexity of family, the mix of factors which shape, influence and impact the family and its constituent parts.  In addition, the Ministry is supported by other Ministries, particularly the Ministry of Social Care, charged with among other things, community development and community empowerment,” Senator McClean added.

On the issue of migration and its impact on children, which is one of the subjects tabled for discussion during the forum, the Minister encouraged regional leaders to come up with a national response to this issue. 

“Barbados is particularly challenged to accommodate demands on our social services, especially the demands for housing and school placement.  It is imperative, therefore, that as the Government grapples with these demands, that our regional leaders play special attention to a regional – not merely a national response – to the needs of our children as we focus on the movement of Caribbean people,” she warned.    

Senator McClean urged the participants to put their deliberations into action.  “As you deliberate on the objectives of the conference and chart a way forward for 2009 and beyond, I challenge you to keep in mind those who you serve – our children – the future of the region. Rise above the ordinary conference interaction, let knowledge be community oriented so that in the sense that it goes beyond the four walls and that all stakeholders, including the children, will have an interest in their future,” the Minister stressed.

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