Trinidad and Tobago’s child protection system has just received a boost with the launch of an innovative, globally recognised case management system, which will allow case workers to act more effectively to safeguard children who have faced abuse and neglect.
In an official statement, the Children’s Authority reports that the The Primero Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS) is a web-based platform that will streamline the processing of cases, including registration, assessments and referrals.
“This development will help to ensure that fewer young people in crisis fall through the cracks of the child protection system,” the Authority explains.
The programme brings together UNICEF and the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago under the UN Spotlight Initiative, a global programme with generous support from the European Union, which seeks to reduce gender-based and family violence.
“The Authority will now be able to offer better quality support to children who need it most,” the release said, “linking with key national systems to facilitate coordination with other partners such as the police, judiciary and social service agencies. Confidentiality, data protection and knowledge sharing also will improve.”
Dr Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF Representative for the Eastern Caribbean area welcomed the initiative, saying:
“Making case management more efficient and streamlined is critical, foundational. It really will help to keep children better protected in its breadth and scope. Caseworkers will have a more holistic picture of each child they serve and how best they can be helped.”
Primero has been rolled out in some 40 countries.
“It is profoundly needed in Trinidad and Tobago as many children are subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, a situation exacerbated by the rise in poverty and socioeconomic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Children’s Authority admitted.
The Authority references a recent Spotlight survey on violence against children, in which respondents reported that such violence is widespread and generally accepted—especially for physical and emotional abuse. The survey reported that 70-75 per cent of respondents said they had seen a child hit or shoved. 72 per cent were aware of cases of sexual abuse against girls, and 36 per cent said the same concerning boys.
Mrs Sharon Morris-Cummings, Director (Ag.) of the Children’s Authority hopes that Primero will be a step in the right direction to change this.
“We believe in a collaborative approach to ensure that all children are cared for and protected and we were very pleased to partner with UNICEF and Spotlight to establish this global case management system,” Ag. Director Morris-Cummings said.