Advocacy, Public Policy and Partnerships

Advocacy, Public Policy and Partnerships


Jamaica gets first Children's Advocate

© JIS photo
Hon. John Junor, Minister of Health announces the appointment of Mrs. Mary Clarke as Jamaica's first Children's Advocate

Protecting the rights and best interests of the children of  Jamaica will be the main responsibility of the newly appointed Children's Advocate Mary Clarke.    The appointment of  a Children's Advocate is mandated under the provisions of the Child Care and Protection Act, 2004.

Mrs. Clarke was appointed in January 2006 following an exhaustive series of  interviews by an Inter-sectoral Committee  convened to spearhead the establishment of the Office of the Children's Advocate.  The views of a wide cross selection of  children were taken into consideration in the final selection of  the candidate for the post.   Before taking up her appointment, Mrs. Clarke was Director of the Social Development and Gender Unit at the Planning Institute of  Jamaica.    As part of  her portfolio at the PIOJ, she was responsible for children's issues and represented the agency on several committees and meetings on children's issues and provided technical advice in the drafting of the Child Care and Protection Act.

Main Functions
Under the Child Care and Protection Act, the Children’s Advocate is required to ensure the fulfillment of all statutory functions of the OCA, including the development, implementation and management of programmes and procedures for:

a. Reviewing laws, policies, practices and government services affecting children 
b. Providing legal services and related assistance to children
c. Responding to requests made through the island’s Courts for representation on behalf of children affected by or involved in legal proceedings
d. Investigating and hearing complaints against government authorities  and providing reasoned decisions and recommendations for action
e. Implementing regular child participation, stakeholder consultation and public education programmes
f. Providing advice on the interpretation of the Child Care and Protection Act
g. Publishing reports and issuing best practice guidelines regarding any matter concerning the rights or best interests of children





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