4 minutes 4 change – For Your Information
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FOR several years the Childcare and Protection Agency, (CPA) Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, has used this column to reach the public as part of a public awareness campaign. It takes only four minutes to read this article, and during that time, we hope, the reader would become enlightened enough to initiate some positive change. If not personally, then by sharing the information with others who might benefit.

The overall objective is to prevent child abuse and to change people’s negative attitudes towards children. We have used various methods to do this, such as short stories, real-life accounts, sharing events and statistics and highlighting favourable and incorrect parental practices.
Today when you relax, why not take four minutes to try our quiz. It is yet another way of informing the public about aspects of child abuse related to our society, hoping that constant information will prompt positive behavioural change toward children.

1) Increased services and assistance are needed for children during the pandemic because:
a) The internet does not provide enough distraction
b) Parents are under stress, economic uncertainty and anxiety
c) Children are young and naïve

2) For the year 2020 reports of child abuse have:
a) Decreased by 26.5% compared to 2019
b) Risen by 20% due to coronavirus
c) Stayed about level with last year when 3,757 cases were reported

3) The highest rate of child abuse is in:
a) Region 1, followed by Regions Three and Seven
b) Region Four followed by Regions 10 and Five
c) Region Six, followed by Regions Four and One

4) The most common form of child abuse is:
a) Physical abuse followed by verbal abuse
b) Sexual abuse followed by abandonment
c) Neglect followed by sexual abuse

5) The biggest time constraint for Child Protection Officers is:
a) The amount of time they spend in the field with families
b) Their sizeable caseloads and administrative duties
c) The time spent dealing with uncooperative parents

6) CPA officers work to support children and families in need because:
a) They want to monitor everything families do
b) They need the data to write their reports
c) Families can provide the best environment for a child’s development

7) A child is taken into local authority care, only if:
a) He/she is an orphan with no living relative
b) It is in the child’s best interest and there are no alternatives
c) The CPA is interested in sorting out the family

8) Since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, staff at the CPA have:
a) Been working from home with a minimum workload
b) Stepped up the pace because they are essential workers
c) Slowed down their programmes but continue to provide services

9) When CPA officers face challenges, (like people do in many jobs) they:
a) Ask their superiors to sort out the problem for them
b) Try to develop strategies to deal with the challenges
c) Turn to Google for a solution

10) Even adults with poor parenting skills can:
a) Benefit from identifying and building on their weak points
b) Work with CPA officers to admonish their children
c)Rest assured that they are doing a good job

11) This year the CPA responded to how many calls on their hotline numbers (227 0979)
a) Over 1,000
b) Approximately 450
c) Approximately 859

12) Foster care is when a child lives temporarily with a family. In Guyana we have:
a) Over 300 children in Foster Care
b) 120 children in Foster Care
c) 220 Children in Foster Care

Answers: 1 (b) Some parents do not realise that recreational drugs and alcohol are short-term solutions to their problems. They must put their children’s welfare first during this time of uncertainty. 2 (a) This decline does not mean there is less abuse. Children are confined to the home and abuse may be under-reported due to COVID 19. 3 (a) Child abuse can be sexual, physical, verbal and consist of abandonment and neglect. 4 (c) Neglect is the most common abuse, which leads to several others, e.g. malnourishment, incest. 5 (b) CPA Officers have to make evaluations, recommendations, reunifications etc. all linked to their case load. 6 (c) Children strive better in a family setting. CPA work with parents to strengthen families and to keep them together. 7 (b) Children belong with families and/or adults who can care for them adequately.

They are only taken into care as a last resort. 8 (c) As essential workers CPA officers work to protect the children of Guyana. Programmes have continued via Zoom where possible and other inventive ways keep work flowing at a reasonable pace. 9 (b) Challenges are there to be overcome. It is part of a CPA officer’s job to create strategies to suit. 10 (a) CPA officers help families to identify and work on their weakest points while giving support where needed. 11(c) The CPA Hotline received 859 calls so far for this year (2020). 12 (c) While there are 220 children in Foster Care, there are over 150 in our Care Centres and Children homes, some of whom can be Adopted or Fostered. If you are interested call the CPA (225 1257) and ask for the Adoption or Foster Care Unit.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child call the CPA hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at childcaregy@gmail.com

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