The Childcare Protection Agency (CPA) is lobbying to have parents, guardians and anyone who places a child in a vulnerable position, including forcing them to beg on the streets, be charged and face the full blunt of the law.
Director of Childcare Protection Agency (CPA) Ann Greene made the statement in the face of alarming reports received of children begging on the streets, according to a statement from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.
“I want to state clearly, I will be working with law enforcement to curb this appalling infringement of a child. We have reports of when the children return home, the adults take the money to buy drugs and alcohol. We have adults renting babies to go out and beg. We have entrenched beggars, who make it a family business,” Ms. Greene was quoted saying.
Therefore, she is imploring to members of public not to give these children money, adding that just stopping the children from begging is not enough; they also need to be protected.
Greene said it is the aim of the Agency to provide increased protection for children, and not have them in vulnerable positions on the streets.
“A child begging on the street is exposed to a number of dangers including sexual abuse. One young man recently removed from the streets told of having to perform sexual favours for adult predators for small change,” she explained.
“I want the public to understand because of the ethics of the profession, we cannot divulge all the horror stories that children received by the hands of their parents and guardians or say things so that children and their families could be identified,” the Child Care Director added.
A special appeal was also made to news outlets to desist from sensationalizing child abuse and welfare stories as oftentimes parents use the media to gain sympathy.
The four main factors that contribute to children’s vulnerabilities are: Parental substance abuse; Parental mental issues; Domestic abuse/violence and Poverty.
According to Ms. Greene, CPA and the Ministry’s Social Services Department are executing programmes to address these issues affecting children and families by providing more Social Services at the community level, particularly through the Partnership Development Programme with key stakeholders and service providers, Faith-based Organisations, Community Based Organisations, NGOs and other social groups.