The Parliamentary Caucus for Children focuses on the importance of the coordination of the agencies dealing with child protection
The Parliamentary Caucus for Children drew attention to the importance of the coordination of institutions working on child protection in Sri Lanka.
This was discussed during the meeting of Parliamentary Caucus for Children held in Parliament recently (08) under the chairmanship of Member of Parliament Hon. Rohini Kumari Wijeratne.
This meeting was held to identify the challenges and problems faced by various agencies working in Sri Lanka regarding child protection. It was also discussed about contacting the relevant parties and finding solutions and working in coordination with the relevant institutions.
Accordingly, the National Secretariat for Early Childhood Development under the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment, the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, the National Child Protection Authority and the Police Children’s and Women’s Bureau have presented facts about their activities and existing challenges and problems. Apart from this, information was also presented regarding the activities of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Sri Lanka.
The officials expressed their views on the shortcomings in the infrastructure including staff vacancies, building requirements, vehicle requirements in the relevant institutions. It was revealed that 284 posts out of 618 posts in the Child Protection Authority are vacant and the forum instructed the Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment to inform the President as the minister in charge and take immediate steps to fill the vacancies.
Providing quality education to children in Sri Lanka, providing adequate health care, making existing resources and officials more efficient, community Based Correction, and matters to be considered in media reporting on child abuse cases were also discussed. Addressing the committee, the chairperson of the caucus, Hon. (Mrs.) Rohini Kumari Wijayaratne said that regarding the ideas and problems presented here, the relevant parties will be called before the caucus and steps will be taken to find solutions.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that a national policy on early childhood education has been prepared. It was also revealed that this has been prepared in a legal framework taking into account the differences and similarities existing in the provinces and nationally.
Furthermore, it was mentioned here that a five-year action plan for child protection (2023 – 2027) has been prepared to implement the national policy on child protection that was finalized in 2019.
The Vice Presidents of the caucus Members of Parliament Hon. (Dr.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle and Hon. Velu Kumar, Leader of the Opposition Hon. Sajith Premadasa,
State Ministers Hon. Geeta Kumarasinghe, Hon. Diana Gamage, Members of Parliament Hon Talatha Athukorala, Hon. Chandima Weerakkodi, Hon. J.C. Alavatuwala, Hon. Ashok Abeysinghe, Hon. Mayantha Dissanayake, Hon. Rajika Wickramasinghe, Hon. Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Assistant Secretary General of Parliament Mr. Tikiri K. Jayathilaka and senior officers of related institutions were present at the occasion.
Also, Minister Hon. (Dr.) Vijayadasa Rajapaksa and Hon. (Mrs.) Mudita Prashanthi attended the meeting with the permission of the Chairperson of the Caucus.