Children need a safe place where they can be housed and protected from abuse, parental neglect or harmful environments other than the Dodds facility, says a former Juvenile Court magistrate.
Attorney at law and legal consultant Faith Marshall-Harris, who is working on reforming Barbados’ laws relating to children and parenting, said this was critical as she chided parents for exposing their children to dangers and influences that could have negative effects.
Speaking against the backdrop of a recent case in which a mother was before the courts for failing to send her child to school for almost an entire year, as well as the recent controversy over a young child gyrating behind an adult female on Kadooment Day, Marshall-Harris told the SUNDAY SUN in an interview that many adults were failing as parents and so children needed adequate alternative facilities to save them.
“Our laws call for places of safety where, if a child is in any jeopardy or at risk, you can send it to a place of safety, and not just the . . . Government Industrial School (GIS). Where we fall short is that the places of safety end up being reform school [the GIS] or the Child Care Board’s children’s homes. Where a child is at risk at home with its parents, the children’s homes don’t really have the capacity to look after that child. So we need to live up to our legislation and actually create places of safety,” she stressed.