When most people think of Trinidad and Tobago, they think of beautiful tropical beaches and carefree Caribbean living. The dedicated professionals in the child protection system are working hard to make that a reality for the country's youngest citizens. Partnering with the Spotlight Initiative and the UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Office, the Children’s Authority for Trinidad and Tobago is taking big strides towards a more responsive, data driven child protection system despite the dsiruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Trinidad and Tobago, there is a high prevalence of child physical, emotional and sexual abuse. This is made worse by the rise in poverty and socio-economic disruption caused by the COVID-19, but also by the lack of coordinated prevention and response services. Such services, even when they are available, can only truly make an impact on a young person's life if they are properly managed and delivered at the right time. This is where the practice of case management is essential, and where support for social services workers managing cases becomes critical.
"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."
Mrs Sharon Morris-Cummings
Director of the Children’s Authority
With the rollout of CPIMS+/Primero, different actors can work together to ensure children and survivors of violence are protected. The shared system will focus on breaking down barriers between organizations and service providers and allowing case workers to act more effectively to safeguard children who have faced abuse and neglect. The web-based platform streamlines the processing of cases, including registration, assessments and referrals, and will help to ensure that fewer young people in crisis fall through the cracks.
Stregthening child protection systems by improving case management is a major strategic intervention regionally and globally. Dr Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF Representative for the Eastern Caribbean area welcomes the initiative: “Making case management more efficient and streamlined is critical, foundational. It really will help to keep children better protected in its breadth and scope. Case workers will have a more holistic picture of each child they serve and how best they can be helped.”
The UN Spotlight Initiative is a global programme generously supported by the European Union that 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, 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 will also improve.
Protecting every child from violence and neglect will be a long journey, but this is a confident step in the right direction.