With schools re-opening this week, the Office of the Children’s Registry is urging parents and guardians to ensure that their children are enrolled at and attend school.
According to Section 28 (1) of the Child Care & Protection (CCPA) 2004, “every person having the custody, charge or care of a child between the ages of four and sixteen years shall take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the child is enrolled at, and attends, school.” Failure to do this constitutes neglect which may be reported to the Children’s Registry. The penalty for neglect ranges from a fine of $1 million to 3-5 years with hard labour or both.
For the period January to June 2010, the Children’s Registry received 85 reports of children not enrolled at a school, while 564 reports were received of children who were enrolled but were not attending school.
The reasons for absenteeism from school were not always specified in reports received. However there are indications that lack of funds and basic items to send children to school may have been contributing factors. Taking this into consideration, the Children’s Registry is encouraging parents who may be having difficulties to seek assistance, as indicated in the CCPA.
Section 28 (2) of the CCPA states that “where a person having the custody, charge or care of a child is financially unable to provide the child with any article required for the purposes of the child’s education at a school at which the child is registered, that person shall apply to the Minister, in the prescribed manner, for assistance.”
“If parents are having difficulties and seek assistance, it shows that at least they have the interest to ensure their children attend school, but if they deliberately prevent the children from attending school, for whatever reason, then this needs to be reported,” notes Mrs. Olive Wilson Cross, Acting Registrar at the Children’s Registry.
The Children’s Registry, which was established in January 2007 under the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA) 2004, receives reports of children, who have been, are being or are likely to be abused. The Registry then records, assesses and refers these reports to the Child Development Agency and/or the Office of the Children’s Advocate for them to conduct investigations.
The Children’s Registry is open between the hours 7:00am-11:00pm Mondays to Fridays to receive reports. Since its inception in January 2007, over 14,000 reports have been received, with a little less than half of that amount received last year. Over 4,000 reports have been received since the start of the year.
For further information please contact the OCR’s Public Education Specialist at 1-876-908-1690 or email@example.com