Pass Children’s Law soon

I am writing on behalf of Hedge Funds Care Cayman to register our support for the proposed amendment to the Children’s Law to implement mandatory reporting of child abuse in the Cayman Islands.

We applaud the commitment shown by Minister Anthony Eden and his staff in addressing this issue as we believe that it will be a powerful tool for the protection of children.

However, the amendment will only be effective if the Children’s Law is actually implemented.

You recently published an excellent letter from Mary J. Lawrence in which she set out the long and tortured history of the Children’s Law and lamented the fact that despite a bill being passed in 1994, the law still has not been enacted.

There are many challenges facing Cayman and much important and worthwhile legislation that is competing for the time and attention of Cayman’s elected representatives.

The Children’s Law should be a priority, however, as providing protection for the most vulnerable members of our society is both a moral imperative and an essential safeguard for Cayman’s future.

Two years ago as part of our annual grant-making phase, Hedge Funds Care brought together in a forum, representatives from every agency in Cayman dealing with child care and protection to discuss child abuse and neglect.

It was encouraging to witness the high level of passion and determination to care and protect vulnerable children, but it was also depressing and frustrating to hear many stories of persons not reporting abuse because of their concern as to potential professional and social repercussions of so doing. The proposed amendment would make it a legal requirement to report suspected child abuse (with an assurance of confidentiality).

Hedge Funds Care Cayman is a not-for-profit organisation that is comprised of professionals in the hedge fund industry who are committed to raising funds for projects designed to treat the victims of child abuse and neglect. Hedge Funds Care Cayman has raised over $950,000 in the past four years that has supported essential care and support along with public awareness campaigns for key providers of child services, including, amongst others the following: the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Nadine Andreas Foster Home, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Children and Family Services, the CAYS Foundation and the Human Rights Commission.

We wait in eager anticipation for the Children’s Law, with the proposed amendment, to be brought into effect in 2009.

Passing this important legislation rather than deferring it to a successor administration, would be an effective way for Cayman’s elected representatives to demonstrate their commitment to present and future generations of Cayman’s children.

Peter Cockhill
Hedge Funds Care Cayman