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De Coteau: Children’s Authority law long overdue
Gender, Youth and Child Development Minister Clifton De Coteau responded promptly with a simple ‘yes,’ when asked yesterday if legislation for the full operation of the Children’s Authority was long overdue. “Some people really feel that they are going fast but they really are going slow. We have a lot of talk, talk, talk, talk. The time for action is now,” he said. De Coteau’s response came after he was asked by the Sunday Guardian about the ministry’s role, if any, in the development of the Sex Offenders’ Registry.
Both De Coteau and permanent secretary Sandra Jones sat in the audience at a promotional event at Trincity Mall for the National Youth Awards that will be held on August 12. Although, he said, the ministry had no direct role in it, it was of interest to the ministry in dealing with some of the challenges it faced. The ministry’s permanent secretary, Sandra Jones, said the ministry was ensuring that a children’s registry came on stream soon, though she could not give a definitive time as to its implementation.
“We would be able to track a child from the time it is born, right through its lifespan,” she said.Asked about the enforcement of relevant laws, Jones said a lot hinged upon the Children’s Authority and an enabling environment was needed for the Children’s Authority to operate. She said the ministry was actively working on ensuring the authority was up and running and fully functional by September this year.
She said the Children’s Act and Community Residences Act also needed to be proclaimed. For these to operate effectively, Jones said, assessment centres and other infrastructure were needed. Cabinet, De Coteau said, had agreed to a one-off grant of no more than $250,000 for the standardisation of the community residences.