Thirteen child care givers on the Essequibo Coast were for the first time, on Monday last, issued licences for their respective facilities.
This move was made by the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) under the
Ministry of Social Protection. The ministry’s mission is to ensure that all childcare facilities offering their service achieve the minimum standard.
Executive Officer of the Agency, Lavern Thorne, explained that the minimum standards are basic building requirements.
“The minimum standards outline the ratio of children per teacher. We check to ensure that there is provision for sleep, play, materials for kids, toilet areas etc.”
Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally said that it is vital that childcare facilities offer quality standard to children.
“Children must be allowed to enjoy an environment that nurtures their physical and emotional needs. There should be freedom from abuse and victimization. Children should be listened to and they must have their race and cultural identity recognized.”
Region two consists of eighteen childcare facilities. The ministry is hoping that the other five unlicenced childcare givers can come on board by year end.
Minister Ally said that it’s essential that there be continuous collaboration between all stakeholders to ensure the safety and wellbeing of kids.
Ally firmly asserted that the “Child Care and Protection Agency is committed towards actively raising the quality of life for every child.”
The minister said that parents should feel confident when leaving their children in the care of others.
“There’s no need for parents to stay home full-time with kids, nevertheless when they make a decision to put kids in childcare facilities, their main concern is the safety and wellbeing of their children. Persons entrusted with care of these children should give the best alternative care possible and standards should be maintained.
Parents should feel assured that their children are well looked after by qualified persons within suitable premises, with appropriate activities. It is imperative that safe and developmentally appropriate children services are available to promote a holistic development to wellbeing of children and their families.”
In Guyana, there are some 330 childcare facilities with approximately 7,378 children between the ages of 3 months to 5 years who regularly attend. Of the 801 in Guyana, some 225 are registered with the CPA.
Thorne said that her agency intends to have all childcare facilities licenced throughout Guyana by year end.
“We would work with all other facilities to provide the necessary guidance to make sure they meet the required minimum standards in accordance with the Childcare Development Services Act of 2011. This is yet another step taken to ensure a better safer and healthier environment for children.
“Early childhood development is essential to our society. School and learning studies show children who attend high quality learning programmes are more likely to do better in school, find good jobs, have greater hearing as adults, and they have less interaction with justice system.”
Minister Ally in her closing remarks applauded the quality of work demonstrated by the childcare facilities on the coast. The Ministry, through the Childcare and Protection Agency established a monitoring, evaluating and reporting mechanism through the use of Registration and licencing officers (RLOs). These officers conduct monitoring exercises to ensure effective implementation and sustainability of minimum standards in all childcare facilities.
These RLOs responsibilities include the examining of buildings at least once every month to ensure that they maintain the standards set by the CPA.
Present also at the event held at the boardroom of the Regional Democratic Council officer, in Region Two, was CPA’s Director, Ann Greene.
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