Friday 4 December, 2020

Children's Authority saddened by abandonment of infant

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago has expressed sadness over the recent discovery of a baby found abandoned in bushes in Freeport on Thursday.

The authority, in providing an update, noted that the child has been taken to a safe place and is getting the required medical attention.

The agency added that it will be managing the case and will provide the necessary interventions, in the best interest of the child.

"This discovery is a stark reminder that many children are not receiving the best possible care and protection at home and as such require support. Parents are reminded that if they are having challenges with caring and protecting their children, they should reach out to trusted family members or friends," it said in a statement.

Parents are also reminded that they can contact the authority, the police, ChildLine or the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services.

The body is further appealing to people who may be experiencing social challenges to contact its hotline at 996 to discuss the available options to best care for children.

"This may include either foster care or adoption, which are services managed by the authority."

Meanwhile, parents are reminded that abandoning a child is an offence.

"Section 4 (1) (a) of The Children Act, 2012 states that: 'Where a person has responsibility for a child and wilfully assaults, illtreats, neglects, abandons or exposes the child or causes or procures the child to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed in a manner likely to cause that child suffering or injury to his physical, mental or emotional health, commits an offence of cruelty."

The authority stated that it is aware many families may be struggling as a result of economic or emotional challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it advises that child abandonment should never be an option.

"With World Children’s Day being celebrated today, the authority is calling on the national community to consider how we can all do our part, 'to reimagine a better future for every child' and to join the authority 'to defend and support child rights and make child protection everybody’s business'."

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