Oct 26, 2015 News
Director of Childcare and Protection Services (CPA), Ann Greene has lobbied for improved allowances for child protection officers.
Addressing members of the panel at a hearing of the Commission of Inquiry,( COI) into the Public Service, last week, Greene outlined that the work of child protection officials is a tedious task which requires attention on a 24/7 basis.
As such, the CPA Director is of the strong opinion that Child Protection Officers, need to be paid a duty allowance.
In her presentation, Greene listed the seriousness of the circumstances attached to the work of Child Protection Officers.
She asserted that “daily, Child Protection Officers are confronted with situations of children being horribly abused and mistreated and the task of employing the necessary methods to protect them.”
In their line of duty the officers are often at the risk and have little or no support. She said too that staff of the CPA often work overtime with little opportunities for staff to recover from the occupational burn out.
Greene underscored that “the work is 24/7 and there is no room for lapses; officers are regularly distressed with the facts of child abuse and still have to maintain mental balance.”
She noted that whenever a child is hurt a family is destroyed. However, it is evident that there is still a great lack of understanding and little appreciation of the operations of the Child Care and Protection Services by officials, some media houses and the public.
There is very little appreciation for the work of a Child Protection Officer—— a high professional activity guided by laws, regulations and procedures.
Citing the Child Protection Act of 2009, Greene stressed that the work of Child Protection Officers is not an easy task.
“Such persons often work in hostile environments, where there is often distrust of agency by parents and guardians, who fear that intervention by the agency, can result in children being removed.”
Greene made general recommendations for across the board salaries to be outlawed.
She called for civil workers to be remunerated based on performance.
The age of retirement, the CPA official said, should be extended and become optional for the job holders, who are still capable of making meaningful contribution to the designated position, even after retirement.
Commenting further on the matters of the Public Service Sector, the witness noted that the word “service” is key.
She called for more emphasis to be given to service within the sector. In this regard, Greene noted that a human services plan is necessary, in the organization that staff can be continually supervised and managed to ensure the standard of service is improved.
Alluding to this, Greene called for a return of orientation to the employment process to the Public Service. She believes that at least two weeks orientation activities will better serve for new entrances to the sector.
Commenting specifically on the role of Permanent Secretaries, she noted that these employees sit at the helm of administration of all government agencies.
In her presentation, Greene underscored that such persons must be knowledgeable of the government policies and the roles and function of the various capacities within the organisation.
According to her, the position of Permanent Secretaries, should be filled by individuals with the competence and experience who “have gone through the ranks of the Public Service.”
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