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13 Region Two child care facilities licenced for first time

Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally (seated centre), Director, Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Green (seated left), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Protection, Lorene Baird surrounded by Regional Chairman, Region Two, Davenand Ramdatt, Probation and Social Services Officer, Whentworth Tanner and licensed day care facilities’ representatives

For the first time in history 13 child care facilities in Essequibo, Region Two are registered under the Ministry of Social Protection. The issuance of the childcare service licences ceremony done on Monday at the Regional Democratic Council’s boardroom, Anna Regina.

Minister of So0cial Protection Amna Ally, Director, Child Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Green, Probation and Services officer, Whentworth Tanner, Executive Officer, Early Childhood Development, CPA, Lavern Thorne and representatives from various day care facilities were in attendance.

Minister Ally lauded the CPA’s initiative as another step by the government towards ensuring a better, safer and healthier environment for children.

She explained that early childhood development is of central importance to society and a key responsibility of government. “We must believe that learning begins at birth, and the earliest years of a child’s life are critical for building foundational cognitive, social and emotional skills and patterns of engagement in school and learning,” Minister Ally was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Currently, there are 330 childcare facilities with 7,378 children between the ages of three months to five years in Guyana. These facilities are staffed with 801 caregivers of whom 225 are registered with the Child Care and Protection Agency. The aim is to have all these facilities registered, the Minister noted.

“The vast majority of children under age three with working parents now spend substantial time in non-parental child care. As a result, child care environments now constitute a central context for early development…therefore, it is important that these environments are safe, nurturing and child friendly,” the Minister underlined.

Minister Ally charged the gathering to uphold the constitution which states that the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration of the state. She congratulated the CPA for ensuring that the newly licenced facilities will be able to fulfill their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Thorne said CPA is committed to actively raising the quality of life for every child. She explained that, “it is our mission to ensure that the child care facilities are achieving minimum standards and are offering quality care to our nation’s children. Today is a historic day in Essequibo, as out of 18 facilities, 13 are registered.”

The Region’s chairman, Davenand Ramdatt noted that there are many issues and challenges that directly impact the lives of children. He said “I sincerely think that this is a very good initiative, but it has to be sustained. From working with Ms. Green as a colleague I know that she is very frank in her views and very aggressive for what she believes in, hence the licencing of these facilities.”

He reminded the caregivers that their jobs are important and the training they provide to the children has positive impact on their future. He also applauded CPA for this initiative especially since it is historic for the region.

CPA has established a monitoring, evaluation and reporting mechanism through the use of registration and licence officers who will conduct monitoring exercises to ensure effective implementation and sustainability of the minimum standards in all licenced facilities.

The list of facilities licenced are Little Angels Play Group, Precious Jewels Play Group, Happy Hearts Learning Centre, Explorer Childcare Programme, Carmel Learning Centre, Logus Play School and home reliance, Logus Play Group Danielstown, E and I Pre Nursery, Rainbow and Sunshine Preschool, Rose Play Group, O and L Playgroup Dartmouth, Young Scholars Academy and Bacchus Play School.