Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo

Barbados will soon have a National Reporting Protocol for Child Abuse.


This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, who said the Child Care Board planned to develop the protocol during the next financial year.

While addressing today’s opening ceremony of the second annual conference on Family Law at the Accra Hotel, Dr. Byer-Suckoo further revealed that the Board would be embarking on consultations with a number of stakeholders to develop a National Children’s Policy. She said it would embrace “the principles of non discrimination and the best interests of the child, while respecting and encouraging the responsibilities of parents and the extended family”.

The one-day symposium was hosted by the Family Law Council, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and the United Nations Children’s Fund and had as its theme “A Harmonised Approach to Children and the Law”.

The Minister said that the synchronisation of the laws affecting children and the concomitant changes to some of the policies and procedures of agencies and departments that worked with children could reduce some of the challenges that families faced, in particular, some single parents.

“In cases where parents are experiencing challenges with their children, oftentimes they seek help from social service agencies, but are sometimes unclear of the processes. Therefore, when policies and procedures are clear and harmonised, the assistance that is being sought may be more forthcoming, since all persons would have an understanding of what is required,” she told the large gathering.

Barbados signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 and Dr. Byer-Suckoo stated that the National Monitoring Committee on the Rights of the Child had recommended that there should be a review of the laws that impact children, so as to bring them in line with the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Describing the seminar as “very timely and relevant”, she observed that much discussion had been ongoing, “but now we need decisions, and a way forward clearly charted – one which all stakeholders will embrace and do their utmost to ensure its success”.

She promised that her Ministry would ensure that families understood the issues that confront their children and provide the necessary tools to protect and care for them.


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