Members of the Child Protection Committee recently hosted children from the various Children’s Homes operated by the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development to a “Fun Day” as part of the activities observing April as Child Protection Month. The Child Protection Committee is comprised of officials from the Child Protection Unit of the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, the National Child Protection Council (NCPC) and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Unit, of the Ministry of Health.
The event was held on the grounds of the Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell joined in the Fun while also taking the opportunity to visit with the children. “Today was an excellent opportunity to interact with the children and to show them that we care about them, that we love them and that we have an appreciation that there is a need for them to also have some fun,” Minister Campbell said. “The kids were very excited. They participated fully and some of them showed their talents in singing and dancing which to us is important for building confidence; for building self-esteem as it is a child who is confident that is able to ‘Say No.’ It is a child that has a high self-esteem who is able to ‘Say No.’ It is a child with confidence, with high self-esteem who is able to own their body, to own their space.
“The Fun Day was also an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with the National Child Protection Council and SCAN in furthering the events to sensitize and bring awareness to child abuse prevention/child protection and related matters as we continue to celebrate Child Protection Month.” Minister Campbell said while there were many fun activities planned for the children, including giant slides, face painting, bouncing castle and many other games to go along with food galore, the organizers of the event also took the opportunity to spread the child protection message to the children. This was done in the form of a “Say No, Then Go” presentation that was conducted by Dr. Novia T. Carter-Lookie, a noted child psychologist and the Deputy Chairperson of the National Child Protection Council.
“Say No, Then Go” is an educational, colouring and activities book that was written by Dr. Carter-Lookie, illustrated by Stevie Burrows, and produced by the National Child Protection Council. The book and subsequent presentation teach children how to protect their bodies and keep them safe from sexual and other forms of abuse. It also teaches Safety Rules children can follow; discusses what is the “Say No, Then Go” Plan of Action; addresses Safe and Unsafe touches, and speaks to the importance of children having “Trusted Adults” whom they should confide in.