this "poll" on the Jamaica Observer site (June 2014) and how the questions is framed just shows the backwardness out there and from places that ought to know better:
The Child Development Agency is seeking to determine the circumstances under which Jamaicans for Justice has been implementing a pilot programme titled, “Realising Sexual and Reproductive Health Responsibly” in six private residential child care facilities.
CDA which has responsibility for the regulation of children’s homes and places of safety only became aware of the initiative through a newsletter issued by the JFJ last week which stated that the programme began in October last year and is due to be completed next month.
JFJ did not seek the permission of the CDA to operate the programme in the homes, neither was the Agency informed, consulted or provided with the curriculum to review prior to the start of the programme. The CDA’s parent Ministry — Ministry of Youth and Culture — has also confirmed it was not aware of the programme.
It has been the custom for groups doing major interventions in residential child care facilities to contact the CDA for approval and provide details of the programme. Groups that are are granted permission are required to sign confidentiality agreements to ensure the privacy of the children is protected.
As the Government entity charged with the care and protection of Jamaica’s children, the CDA must at all times ensure that material and information being imparted to children in the care of the State are in their best interest – contributing to their positive mental growth and development while enabling them to make positive choices for their lives.
The Agency is concerned that there was no consultation or opportunity to review the curriculum prior to the start of the JFJ programme to ensure the material was age-appropriate and consistent with regulations governing the care of wards of the State.
The CDA welcomes the partnership of non-governmental organisations, public sector groups, faith-based bodies, international organisations and concerned citizens to enhance the operations of residential child care facilities, however it is our duty to ensure that this support is carried out in a manner that protects the best interests of our children.
The operations of privately-operated residential child care facilities are regulated by the CDA through the Child Care and Protection Act, Children’s Home Regulations, and the Guidance & Standard of Care for Residential Child Care Facilities, which outlines levels of care for children in the care of the State. In addition, the CDA provides budgetary support to privately-operated facilities to ensure standards of care. For financial year 2014-2015, the CDA is projected to spend in excess of $722 million in support of the operations of privately-operated residential child care facilities.
Now comes the Gleaner and Observer headlines both of whom seem to be relishing the opportunity to get back Ms Gomes especially since the near ill-fated press conference some days before and the walk out by "journalists" from the outlets. The deliberate conflation with the Child Care and Protection Act with the Offences Against the Persons Act is disturbing as well, they published such openly this morning:
THE SIX privately run children's homes that gave approval for Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to introduce an unauthorised sex- education programme in their institutions have been accused of breaching child-care regulations and could face tough sanctions.
An interim report submitted to Youth Minister Lisa Hanna by the Child Development Agency (CDA) found that the operators, "by sanctioning and giving approval for the training", breached Regulation 15(1) and 15(2) of the Child Care and Protection (Children's Home) Regulations, because they did not seek the minister's approval.
Hanna yesterday gave the directors of the homes seven days to respond to the CDA's initial findings.
The institutions have admitted that they did not get permission from the CDA which has responsibility for the regulation of children's homes. A breach of the licence granted to operate a children's home could result in its revocation or suspension, according to Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison.
Gordon Harrison told The Gleaner yesterday that the portfolio minister could also go to the courts seeking a court order to have the children removed from the homes.
At the same time, a preliminary report submitted to Hanna by the CDA surrounding the circumstances under which JFJ implemented the controversial material into the homes, has revealed that the rights' group paid at least five of the institutions $10,000 each for use of their premises for training. One facility has not disclosed the amount it received.
It has been established that 135 children across the six child-care facilities participated in the JFJ training. The CDA has said data received from at least two homes indicate that the majority of children who participated in the training at the facilities were under 16 years old, the age of consent.
"Of the combined 51 children who took part, 31 were under the age of 16. The group included an 11-year- old, a 12-year-old and 10 children aged 13.
During the training exercise, the CDA said refreshments were served and at least one home reported that bags containing pens, footballs and brochures were given to the children who participated in the programme.
The training programme, Realising Sexual and Reproductive Health Responsibility: JFJ's Pilot Intervention in Children's Homes, was conducted in the Alpha Boys Home, St John Bosco, Jamaica National Children's Home, Sunbeam Children's Home for Boys, Elsie Bemand Home for Girls and Best Care Foundation.
The CDA has reported that the six facilities were contacted directly by representatives of JFJ by way of telephone and later by email and letter. The administrators of the homes were advised by JFJ that the workshop was being held in other homes, and that they were selected to participate.
Already, the children's home affair has led to the resignation of one of the founders of JFJ, Dr Carolyn Gomes, who at the time of her departure was a board member.
Gomes had negotiated and signed the contract with the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) Coalition in April 2013 for the introduction of the programme in the homes.
Gomes is now co-chair of the CVC Coalition.
In the meantime, the CDA is reporting that it received a copy of the material used in the JFJ training programme and a review of the contents found that sections were "inappropriate for the age cohort and a departure from that approved by the Ministry of Education for use in public schools".
The CDA noted that brochures from the Ministry of Health used in the training exercise were in keeping with standard material used in schools. However, it said other modules, for example, module six on Sexuality and Society (Sexuality and Sexual Practices) by unknown authors which explained the use of condoms in anal sex were not age-appropriate.
According to the CDA, this could be deemed to be in contravention of the Offences Against the Person Act, sections 76 and 79, which sees such acts as illegal. The Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) is also conducting a comprehensive investigation into the matter. Gordon Harrison told The Gleaner yesterday that the OCR's probe could take up to three months.
"YOUTH and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna says appropriate action will be taken against human rights lobby group Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) and the six children's homes where children were exposed to controversial sexual content.
In a release to the media yesterday, following receipt of the Child Development Agency (CDA) report on the controversial sex education programme, Hanna said she was particularly upset that JFJ did not advise the CDA about the 'Realising Sexual and Reproductive Health Responsibly' programme — the title given to the JFJ's pilot intervention in children's homes — and that the programme represented possible breaches of the Child Care and Protection Act and the Offences Against The Person Act.
Hanna, meanwhile, questioned why the homes did not advise the CDA about the programme, although they were visited by the agency's monitoring officers.
"A review of the content of the material found that parts of the training material were inappropriate for the age cohort and a departure from that approved by the Ministry of Education for use in public schools. Legal advice will have to be sought to determine if its presentation contravened any existing laws [as] information gleaned from the focus groups sessions in the homes confirmed that the training material was delivered," the minister said.
The offensive material was imparted to children at:
* Alpha Boys' Home;
* St John Bosco;
* Jamaica National Children's Home;
* Sunbeam Children's Home for Boys;
* Elsie Bemand Home for Girls; and
* Best Care Foundation.
"The administrators of the facilities gave approval to the JFJ for the implementation of the sexual education programme through MOUs. It was confirmed that the six homes each received a monetary contribution from the JFJ for use of their premises for the training," Hanna said.
Each home received at least $10,000 from JFJ, the CDA's investigation found.
"The operators of the six homes, by sanctioning and giving approval for the training, breached Regulation 15 (1) and 15 (2) of the Child Care and Protection (Children's Home) Regulations, in not seeking approval from the minister," Hanna said, in response to the CDA report.
Some 135 children in the six child-care facilities participated in the programme, according to the CDA. The majority of the children who participated in the programme were under the age of 16, including an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old, and 10 children who were age 13.
"I was taught that anal sex is not healthy for the body, but if one wants to have anal sex it is his rights and no one should try to hurt that individual," the CDA report quoted one of the children interviewed. Another child related that "I was taught that someone can get infection in the mouth from oral sex".
Another related that they were not influenced to do anal or oral sex but "it is a choice". Also, another related that he learned that there are individuals who are homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual.
Hanna said yesterday that a team of social workers was dispatched to offer counselling to the children and was mandated to determine if any psychological or traumatic fallout occurred due to the sex education programme.
The minister said, too, that a further review of any impact on the children will be assessed when the social workers produce a report of their findings and a decision will be made to determine whether extensive counselling will be needed to reverse any negative impact on the affected children.
see this CVM TV vox pop and the varied responses:
Anti Gay Voice & 'Child Rights' Advocate Betty-Ann Blaine Taken to Task on Public Advocacy
Betty Ann Blaine's New Nation Coalition put out this release as it were:
"New Nation Coalition is calling upon Youth Minister, Lisa Hannah, to explain to the Jamaican people the circumstances under which specialized training in “sexual rights and discriminatory practices” is being delivered by Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to children in six children’s homes without the knowledge and consent of the Child Development Agency (CDA), the entity responsible for the oversight of all children’s homes. New Nation is asking, “Was permission sought and given by the Youth Minister?”
New Nation has taken note that the CDA in a press release issued on July 12, 2014 expressed its own concerns that it was completely in the dark about JFJ’s training programme, and charged the organization with “violating procedure by undertaking an unauthorized intervention project…”, “What is the Minister prepared to do now that this violation has been made public?, New Nation asks.
New Nation has also taken note that to date, the names of the six children’s homes have not been disclosed. Children’s Advocate and New Nation Founder, Betty Ann Blaine wants to know, “Which homes are we talking about?, “Who runs these homes?, and what type of training are the children being exposed to?”
“Even more importantly is the matter of who the children are and what are their ages?, Blaine adds. “We have noticed that JFJ describes the children as “marginalized”, but that would apply to close to one-half of the Jamaican youth population. JFJ needs to explain to the Jamaican people exactly how “marginalized” the children they singled out are, and how different those children are from the large population of children who are vulnerable due largely to poverty, dispossession and poor parenting.” We are curious to know what criteria were used to identify and train this group of children.”
“We understand fully that children who are placed in institutions and become wards of the state are there under extenuating circumstances, and that is precisely why those children must be protected from certain types of training, and by the state which is in essence the “parent” of those children.”
New Nation is equally concerned that the stated support for the training project came from the newly formed, Dr. Carolyn Gomes’-led NGO, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC). Asks Blaine, “Exactly which Jamaican children does CVC support and is CVC a grant-receiving or grant-making NGO?
“As a member of the NGO community, I find it interesting that funds for training seems to be geared to certain designated entities and not others. As far as I know there are a number of children’s NGO’s that are able to deliver training in health-related issues. Were any of them given the opportunity under this new funding mechanism?”, Blaine asks."
Peace and tolerance