Out-going CEO of the Child Development Agency (CDA) Carla Francis-Edie today reminded Agency investigators that they were on the frontline of the fight for the lives of the nation’s children, and to not relent in this effort.
The CEO was speaking at a forensic investigations seminar for CDA’s investigating officers held at the Alpha Boys Home today.
CDA’s cadre of over 10 investigators supported by children’s officers across the island carry out probes into cases of child abuse, abandonment and neglect received from the Office of the Children’s Registry and through CDA’s Intake desk. The type of investigation carried out by the CDA is a social enquiry investigation into the child’s welfare and home circumstances to support the Police in carrying out their criminal investigation, and also to assist the Court’s decision in determining the best interest of the child.
“Our fire personnel often attend the scenes of burning buildings to rescue victims; police officers are required to respond to alarms raised by citizens in the face of crimes against citizens; our CDA investigators help rescue children from broken homes, lives of pain, suffering and abuse, and help them to begin the process of restoration,” she said.
Describing the work of the investigators as divine appointments, she noted: “This is how God works in our lives; in doing your jobs, you are His hands and feet – that realization should make your work even more significant,” Mrs. Edie said.
The out-going CEO told the Agency staff that despite their best effort, they will face criticism, but urged them to continue to do their best and to press on earnestly in the work to rescue the nation’s children in crisis.
“Sometimes the work seems overwhelming, sometimes it seems that you cannot keep up with the flood of cases from the Office of the Children’s Registry and the depths of the evil being meted out to the nation’s children. We have to strive for efficiency (and do as many as possible) but if we rescue one child that is one child less, who has to face the horrors of a broken life,” she said.
Mrs. Edie told the investigations that the move to employ 10 additional investigators this financial year should help to ease the burden that they face.
“The expansion of the multi-agency approach to other parts of the island will come with additional responsibilities, but I am sure that an equal effort will be made to ensure that you have adequate resources and the support you need to function efficiently.
The multi-agency approach is a partnership with the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA); the Ministry of Justice’s Victim Support Unit, and other agencies to provide intervention for child abuse victims and to prevent secondary trauma from being debriefed by multiple agencies at different times.
Mrs. Edie observed that the training is timely as it will help to sharpen the investigators’ skills to meet the demands of the job. “As I close I take this opportunity to bid you farewell and encourage you to continue to do your best. You are doing God’s work. He is the ultimate rescuer and He has appointed you for such a time as this to be the hands and feet in the lives of His innocent and beloved children,” Mrs. Edie said.
The training is focusing on advanced investigative techniques; identifying, rescuing and restoring child victims of trafficking, and gathering and preserving evidence.
In his presentation, Det. Insp. Carl Berry from the Trafficking in Persons Division of the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID) urged the officers to do everything in their hands to rid the world of human trafficking and exploitative child labour.
He gave the group insight into the local and global child trafficking network, and the damaging impact of these crimes are having on the country and the victims.31
Contact: Prudence N. Barnes