Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene is calling on the public to stop giving money to children who are begging for money.
The Director raised this issue, and other troubling matters, on a recent television programme.
“These children are at risk and members of the public must not give these children ‘small change’ because when they do, they become a part of the problem and not the solution,” Greene said.
The CPA has received reports that children are soliciting money at various stoplight junctions, in exchange for cleaning the windscreens of random cars.
“We cannot arrest random persons who hand out money to these children on the streets, but we are pleading with them to be our eyes. The Childcare and Protection Agency cannot do the job alone; wherever there are children wandering, report them to the Agency, so we can get them off the streets. Do not feed into the issue,” Greene said.
Recently, the CPA team conducted an exercise in which several were removed from the streets. Through this intervention, a single mother of nine, who is a security guard, was called into the Agency after one of her children was taken into care. Ms. Greene said after listening to the woman’s plight the Agency took a decision to list the names and last known addresses of absentee fathers in the daily newspapers, asking them to report to the Agency.
“Through this system, once the information is published and the father/s reach out to us, we don’t throw them in the lockups. Instead, we work with them, whether through counselling or the court system, to ensure these children who are on the streets are taken care of rather than neglected and exposed to danger,” the Director said.