READ BY BISHOP THE HON. DR. CARMEN STEWART CUSTOS ROTULORUM FOR ST. ANDREW
The Office of the Children’s Registry, which was established in January 2007, has worked assiduously to safeguard the welfare of children. It has faithfully carried out its mandate to receive record and store data on the maltreatment of Jamaican children who are so affected. Over the past three (3) years, the Registry has received over 9,000 reports.
Although this number is far too high, the fact that an increasing number of incidents are being reported, is an indication of the growing concern for abused children, and the level of confidence which people have in the Office. It also shows an increased confidence of the ability of the related agencies, such as the Office of the Children’s Advocate and the Child Development Agency, to investigate and address the problems.
I believe that each of us in attendance this morning and individuals in the wider society, have a responsibility to protect our children and be the village that raises them to become good citizens of Jamaica. In a letter published in one of the daily newspapers some time ago, the writer asked, “Who really protects our children?” Answering his own question, the writer indicated that all of us are responsible for protecting the children of Jamaica.
Our children are one of our most treasured assets, and we must care how we grow them. We must nurture, support, and encourage them to believe in themselves and what they can achieve. We can begin this process by working in our communities to develop and support families in which they can be properly socialized.
The Church has a critical role to play in teaching young people the values and principles of life, and in creating opportunities through which they can express themselves socially and responsibly. I encourage the congregation here this morning to reflect on ways in which you can positively impact the lives of the children within the immediate church environs, as well as in your own communities.
I commend the Office of the Children’s Registry on its efforts to increase awareness of the work which they do, and their success in garnering the support of the general public for the care and protection of our children.