Direct pro-child expenditure expected to be $605 M in 2019

– Two NGO’s to receive govt subvention to support programmes aimed at addressing child abuse

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 26, 2018

In an effort to promote the well-being of the nation’s children and the fulfilment of children’s rights, the direct pro-child spending is expected to be $605 Million in 2019. This was announced by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan during his Budget Presentation, today.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan at Budget 2019 presentations

Minister Jordan explained that several interventions will be undertaken to prevent child abuse and protect vulnerable children. The Right Start initiative, through the Early Childhood Development programmes, will ensure that children are exposed to positive early childhood experiences, in an effort to decrease the number of dysfunctional adults in society. Parents will also be educated on children’s rights and vulnerable families will be exposed to community network support systems. The Ministry of Social Protection will also intensify its work with children in the hinterland regions.

In 2019, two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will receive a Government subvention to support initiatives that are aimed at preventing and treating instances of child sexual abuse and protecting children from all forms of abuse.

Additionally, in meeting its responsibility under the Juvenile Justice Bill (2018), the ministry will explore suitable options to provide alternative care for children below the age of criminal responsibility. Support for juvenile justice will also be provided through the operationalisation of the Juvenile Justice Programme.

According to the Finance Minister, a wide range of plans and initiatives that address the needs and rights of children are in place. In the health sector, programmes are being implemented to address infant mortality and to bring awareness of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The school-feeding package is being expanded, while investments in the education sector with greater focus being placed on the early childhood systems and teacher training.

It was highlighted that President David Granger’s Five Bs Initiative has been instrumental in improving children‘s attendance at school as well as their nutritional status.

In 2018, the Government commissioned six Early Childhood Development Centres in Dartmouth; Suddie; One Mile, Wismar; Anna Catherina; Golden Grove and Ithaca. Built at a cost of $220 Million, these facilities will expose children from vulnerable communities to an early education in a child-friendly environment.

In addition to the numerous interventions and programmes mentioned, the Child Care and Protection Agency has been addressing the challenges faced by children whose needs are not met by their parents, guardians, and other primary caregivers. The success to date can be attributed to the Agency’s strengthened partnerships with communities and non-governmental organisations.

Synieka Thorne.

Image: Keno George.