September 21, 2020

Jamaica partners with Facebook to broadcast alerts for missing children


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From Caribbean News Service

KINGSTON, , Apr 08 2017 – The Ministry of Education has announced plans to partner with social media giant, Facebook, to broadcast – a system for reporting missing children.

In his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in Parliament earlier this month, State Minister in the Ministry, Floyd Green said Facebook team will be visiting Jamaica in May for the official launch of the partnership.

“This partnership will enable the broadcast of Ananda Alerts on the pages of all Facebook users in Jamaica, which will ensure that we have a larger pool searching for our children when they go missing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Green informed that the backlog of sexual-offence cases at the Child Development Agency () has been cleared.

As it relates to the planned merger of the CDA and the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), he noted that the move aims to “remove the bureaucracy from child protection”.

“The CDA and OCR merger is not a cost-saving measure. The focus will be on efficiency, roles and effectiveness. The motivating factor is to have a child-protection sector which appropriately responds to the needs of our children,” he pointed out.

He added that in the new dispensation, the Registry functions will be sufficiently protected to guarantee the necessary legal safeguards in child-abuse cases.

The Ananda Alert system for reporting missing children was launched on May 19, 2009.

It was named in honour of , an 11-year-old student of a Corporate Area school who went missing on September 17, 2008.

The two-week search for her ended in despair as her headless, decomposing body was found in bushes. The system was devised in the hopes of increasing the chances of recovering missing children by getting information out to the public faster.

Under the Ananda Alert programme, when a child goes missing, a report is made to the nearest police station or by calling 119.

The police will then alert all Ananda Alert stakeholders including the media houses, mobile companies, local authorities, parish councils; and these will then mobilise community groups.

After 12-hours, photos of the missing child will be placed on electronic/mobile billboards, in shops, supermarkets, community centre, church halls, schools and post offices.

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