Colloquium: ‘360 Degree Look at our Nation’s Children’

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, 11th March 2013: The OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project has collaborated with the Ministry of Community Development, Culture & Gender Affairs to facilitate a colloquium to take a “360 Degree Look at our Nation’s Children,” on Friday, March 15th, 2013, at the Marriott Resort. The Juvenile Justice Reform Project which is a collaborative effort between the OECS and USAID is geared towards reducing recidivism rates among juvenile offenders, increasing the chances of reform for youth who have been in conflict with the law and providing opportunities for them to transform themselves into law abiding and productive citizens through the colloquium will also seek to strengthen the support and management of the newly opened New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre.

The colloquium will identify ways to improve the processes surrounding children and youths in St. Kitts and Nevis, with the ultimate objective of creating a framework for inter-sectoral cooperation at every level that will facilitate for the protection, survival and development of all children. The participants who are stakeholders that have contributed to children, youth and family development in various ways will explore the past, current and future status of children, towards the development of a five year plan. It is envisioned that collaboration and commitment of all stakeholder will lead to a Memorandum of Understanding.

It is foreseen that the ideas and recommendation from this gathering will also form the basis for the development of a Child Development Policy. The welfare and treatment of children is the key to enabling them as individuals to reach their potential and for increasing society’s capacity to develop. Investment in child development has future economic and social benefits to society. Therefore, a Child Development Policy will provide a set of ideas and principles that aims to guide the Ministry and stakeholders in decision-making and practice to ensure that children’s concerns and needs are better met.

This initiative is one of several actions under the OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project work plan that calls for a broader involvement of stakeholders. The Ministry values this exercise as an opportunity to strengthen the foundation that guides its work and builds stronger partnerships. The Ministry will continue to exemplify the Government’s commitment to ensure that ‘eyes’ are always on the Nation’s children.

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