Five-year Action Plan on National Child Protection Policy on the cards | Daily News


 

Right of reply

Five-year Action Plan on National Child Protection Policy on the cards

 The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) in a response to a Daily News lead story on August 19 titled “NCPA failed to resolve 53% of child abuse cases” said the news item has been based on the special audit report on the National Child Protection Authority.

NCPA Chairman Professor Muditha Vidanapathirana said the Authority under his command has taken tremendous measures to rectify drawbacks during the short stint of nine months since assuming duties.

Professor Vidanapathirana said he and his deputy assumed duties on January 1, 2020 and a massive amount of work has been conducted to regularize the services rendered by the NCPA.

“Special attention was paid to rectify the drawbacks that occurred during the past nine years up to September 30, 2019, a period before the appointment of the new management,” he said.

The NCPA Chairman said that the Cabinet of Ministers on October 20, 2019 has approved the National Policy on Child Protection and a five-year action plan from 2020 to 2025 is being prepared based on this national policy.

The full statement:

Based on the right to reply and equal rights to publish, the Board of Directors of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) decided to send a reply for the statements in the above article. This news item was based on the special audit report on the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) from January 1, 2011 to September 30, 2019.

The newly appointed Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson assumed duties on January 1, 2020. During the past seven months, a massive amount of work has been conducted to regularize the services carried out by the NCPA and special attention was paid to rectify the drawbacks that occurred during past nine years up to September 30, 2019, a period before the appointment of the new management. During this short period in office, the Authority has been able to fulfil most of those drawbacks.

The said report mentioned that NCPA failed to prepare a national child protection policy. However, the NCPA wishes to state that on October 29, 2019, the Cabinet had approved the National Policy on Child Protection.

Based on that, a five-year action plan for the National Child Protection Policy from 2020 to 2025 is being prepared and will be completed by September 2020 to create awareness among the public on child protection, to prevent child abuse and to protect and rehabilitate the innocent victims.

Also, an annual action plan aimed at children, families, schools, child development and care centres, professionals, voluntary organizations, the community and society is being carried out through our district and divisional officers.

Another point highlighted in the audit report was the shortage of staff in the NCPA. However, special attention has been given to recruit staff by the newly appointed Chairman and the Deputy. Out of the 534 cadre positions, 186 have fallen vacant in the past nine years. Fifty-two existing staff members who fulfilled the criteria of recruitment were utilized to make up the duties. Further, the approval of the Board of Directors was obtained and action has been taken to recruit new staff.

The new Chairman paid attention to solving the existing human resource management issues. By January 1, 2020, only 30 employees were permanent out of 358 who were in service. During the past seven months, an additional 105 employees were made permanent. Efficiency bar exams which were not conducted in time for promotions were held and the remaining eligible employees will also be made permanent in due course.

Lapsed annual increments of the employees for the past four years were updated and all justifiable transfers requested were made.

During past seven months, 60 percent of child abuse cases which were not solved during the past 10 years were completed and the remaining 40 percent are under observation at present. Almost all cases reported in 2020 are being investigated, coordinated and monitored, and action is being taken to arrest the suspects.

For the first time in the history of the NCPA, a digital ‘NCPA Complaint Update and Management System’ (NCPA CUMS) was implemented to monitor the complaints received by the Authority.

Police stations islandwide send ‘First reports’ of child abuse cases to the NCPA within 24 hours of the complaint. For the first time, a digital ‘Police Complaint Update and Management System’ (Police CUMS) was implemented to monitor those complaints.

During the Covid–19 period, a special progamme named “Sith Saviya - National Child-centered Psycho-Social Support Service (NCPS)” was established and offered counselling and psycho-social services to children and their families and currently it has become a service to the nation.

The toll free trilingual child-friendly telephone service was kept alive even during the ‘work from home’ period of Covid–19, by using call forwarding and hunting facilities of SLT. Further, during the lockdown period, 19 family re-unions were made for the children who were separated from their families.

Recording of the video-evidence is a unique service of the Authority and 60 recordings were performed in 2020. Such video recording centres will be started in all nine provinces in the near future. Nine “Lama Piyasa” centres will be built for victimized children in paediatric units of each province and a separate “infant receiving centre” will also be developed in each such unit.

In future, every district will have a special court for children. The Authority will take special effort to include age appropriate sex education into the school curriculum.

Another responsibility of the NCPA is to develop the minimum standards and the monitoring of the child care institutions and the criminal justice system of children. However, the Authority has monitored only 400 centres for child development for the past nine years and now we have extended monitoring up to 50,000.

Examples, Monitoring and Establishment of Minimum Standards of (1) Child Development Centres (400), (2) Government Receiving Homes, (3) Remand Homes (4) Certified Schools, (5) Child Day Care Centres (12,000), (6) Early Childhood Development Centres/Montessori’s (19,600), (7) School Child Protection Committees (5,000), (8) Compulsory Education Committees headed by Grama Niladhari (14,022), (9) Children under the custody of fit persons and (10) Student Hostels.

During the past seven months, the newly appointed management of the NCPA has achieved solutions for most of the issues highlighted in the audit report for the period of past nine years and the Authority can ensure the President’s vision for a prosperous nation by creating a happy family, disciplined society and a prosperous nation.


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