The new Cayman Islands Child Safeguarding Board, announced last week, is an effort by government and nongovernmental organizations to coordinate Cayman’s various agencies to protect children from abuse.
A press release from government states that the board was formally established on May 23 to coordinate policies and procedures for preventing all forms of child abuse, and making sure information is shared across agencies.
The announcement last week comes after a Grand Court judge took police to task for neglecting an investigation into the sexual assault of a young girl for 18 months, and another high-profile case involving a former political candidate who has been charged with gross indecency with an underage girl.
Governor Helen Kilpatrick said in the press release that the board “will provide an effective mechanism to coordinate child protection matters and safeguard the children of the Cayman Islands from all forms of abuse. The Board is based on a best practice model and I look forward to seeing it develop over the coming months.”
The board will report to the deputy governor and Cabinet.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said in the press release, “To have a Child Safeguarding Board in the Cayman Islands really shows that we are stepping up and enhancing our child protection structure, to protect our most vulnerable citizens. The Child Safeguarding Board will ensure that social workers, police and other professionals are communicating at the highest level to ensure that everything that can be done is being done to protect our children.”
Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden said, “Ensuring that our children are able to grow up safe and free from abuse must be our top priority and I am pleased to support the work of the Board as an essential body to help us achieve this.”
According to the press release, the board’s first objectives include strategic planning for services to keep children safe, coordinate those services, and “hold all partner agencies to account for their safeguarding practice.”