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Children in State care participate in national summit

Friday, August 16, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Children from several private and Government-owned residential child care facilities received valuable life skills training and career advice, at the fourth staging of the biennial National Children's Summit (NCS) 2019, organised by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

The event, held yesterday, at theJamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, featured several concurrent sessions and presentations which focused on a range of topics, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, CPFSA Transitional Service Opportunities, Career Guidance, Financial Management and tips on Personal Safety and Security.

There were also motivational and information sessions targeting caregivers, covering topics related to parenting children with special needs, alternatives to corporal punishment, among other things.

These presentations were made by the CPFSA and its stakeholders, including the Nathan Ebanks Foundation and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, Caribbean Child Development Centre.

There were also exhibitions by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA), HEART Trust/ NTA, Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), National Council on Drug Abuse and the University of Technology (UTech).

In his address, Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Karl Samuda, encouraged the children to strive for excellence, regardless of the hardships they may encounter.

“Now you have the opportunity to acquire knowledge through the support you get from the adults and organisations that are here. Open your minds to accept what is being offered…so that you can achieve your God given abilities and potential. That is what we are trying to do in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information— to give every child an equal start and to nurture every child through the process,” Samuda said.

He also encouraged the children to apply themselves in their educational pursuits, stating that the Government and its agencies stand ready and willing to offer assistance.

“Work hard, be unrelenting in your efforts to acquire knowledge and be confident that you can achieve. You have a fantastic team of experts that are here trying to help, and have come to the assistance of the youth of the country,” he said.

The Summit brings together children between 12 and 17 years of age from across the island (mainly wards of the State) and different interest groups. It creates an atmosphere for learning, exchange of ideas, developing and strengthening social skills.

It was organised by the CPFSA, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNICEF. The Summit was held under the theme: 'Empowering Children, Uplifting Jamaica'.

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