The Child Care and Protection Children's Home Regulations and the Child Care and Protection Advisory Council Regulations were approved on (July 10) in the House of Representatives.
Minister of Health, Horace Dalley said that the Regulations, which are complementary to the Child Care and Protection Act 2004, will govern the establishment and control of children's homes in Jamaica.
"The Regulations call for monitoring and evaluation. They call for a disciplinary log, critical incident log, medical dental care forms, health, safety and welfare of the children, human resource to facilitate these regulations and the physical infrastructure of the children's homes," Mr. Dalley explained.
They also address the child's right to be fed, clothed, to access health care, to express themselves, to privacy, to freedom from corporal punishment and to legal representation.
There are 62 residential child care facilities for which the Child Development Agency has regulatory responsibility. Of the total, 13 are operated by the government of Jamaica and 49 are privately owned.
The Minister informed the Lower House that under the new regulations, no children's home can operate without a valid licence.
"No person shall establish or maintain a children's home hereinafter except under a valid licence granted to him by the Minister. The Minister holds the authority to refuse granting or renewal of this licence and the applicant can make an appeal against the terms and conditions of the licence, the cancellation or the suspension of the licence or the refusal to grant the licence within 14 days of the date of notification," Mr. Dalley explained.
He added that appeals can be made to a judge against any refusal of the Minister to grant, permit the transfer, or renew a licence.
In addition, Mr. Dalley informed that the licensee is responsible to act in the best interest of every child in the home. He added that the licensee has to ensure that every child "in his home receives at all times, careful and humane treatment and suitable education."
"Under the Regulations, the Minister may intervene if a home is not performing in the best interest of the child," Mr. Dalley said.
Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Kenneth Baugh said that he was very pleased that the Regulations have been approved.
"One of our most important functions as a country is the care of our children. We are very pleased that the Child Care and Protection Act is a reality and the Regulations are now coming forward to give effect to this Act," Dr. Baugh said.