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 in the streets, be charged and face the full blunt of the law.

Director of Childcare Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene made the statement following increasing and alarming reports received of children begging on the streets.

“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,” Greene stated.

She is therefore 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.

“This is the aim of the Agency and the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, 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 said.

A special appeal was also made to news outlets to desist from sensationalizing child abuse and welfare stories.

“Too often we see parents using the media to tell their versions of events to gain sympathy, and some Journalists and media personalities, without fact-checking, disseminate the information amidst fanfare. Many parents you see take their stories to the media because they are warned that there is a possibility that they would be charged,” the CPA Director revealed.

She added:” 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 four main factors that contribute to children’s vulnerabilities are: Parental substance abuse; Parental mental issues; Domestic abuse/violence and Poverty.

According to 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 Organization, Community Based Organizations, NGOs and other Social Groups.

“CPA sees the public as a major partner in this fight to protect children, and we thank those persons who take time to call in and bring to our attention children in difficult circumstances,” she added.


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