|‘Child Welfare lacks collaboration’|
|Tuesday, 21 May 2013 09:13|
WILLEMSTAD — Although the system for child protection on Curaçao has the necessary components, as an entirety it doesn’t function harmoniously and vigorously in the fields of prevention, care, rehabilitation and the restoration of the child’s rights. Several institutes work individually and there’s no extensive government policy. UNICEF wrote this in their report on Curaçao.As with the findings on St. Maarten and Aruba, UNICEF concludes that in general there is reason for positivism when it regards fundamental rights of children on Curaçao, but there are still many important chances for improvement. Positive points from the report include the access to education, the observance of compulsory education and that nearly everyone has a medical insurance. The areas for special attention mentioned include the increase of domestic violence, the number of drop-outs and obesity.
The UNICEF-report is based on extensive research by independent organization Observatorio Social de Ecuador (OSE). The researchers interviewed people from all sections of the population, from children to academics, and from immigrants to ministers. Their research included studying numerous statistical data and background literature.
Although Curaçao is considered a country with a high income, inequalities related to poverty effects 25% of the population and therefore the children, which is a risk for the entire society.
UNICEF therefore has several recommendations. Children in a conflict situation should be able to approach a special bureau such as an Ombudsman for children. Despite projects to educate parents on the subject, domestic violence against children is a huge problem and information and data are often ad hoc.
Despite the compulsory education detainees are deprived of education and children of migrants with regard to higher education. Although the government has taken steps to limit the number of drop-outs, it is yet to solve the difficulties at each school level.
The percentage of teenager pregnancies is still too high. A government policy on breastfeeding is also necessary. Very few handicapped children attend regular education. The report also mentioned the phenomenon of smuggling children for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Also the US Department of State mentioned this last year, possibly referring to the children with forged traveling documents from Haiti via Curaçao and Suriname en route to French Guyana. UNICEF warns against concealing such practices or considering them normal.
The present child relief subsidized by the government as well as the after-school relief and activities for pupils is too limited. The relief in the private sector is too expensive. Mothers are left to arrange child relief without help from a partner or the government. Inequality between men and women still exists on the shop floor and gender policy is not pursued in the government.
“The relative increase of the mortality rate among children under five in the past twelve years gives reason for investigation”, UNICEF reported.