Parents and guardians of children with disabilities (CWD) are urged by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Jamaica to register their children with the Jamaica Council of Persons with Disabilities (JCPD).
UNICEF Jamaica Representative Vicente Teran told reporters that registration was a very important issue and that his organization had been assisting the JCPD in trying to identify and register CWD for several years.
However, recently, during a study commissioned jointly with the Department of Labor and Social Security, it became clear that some CWD, particularly those living in rural Jamaica, were not captured in the JCPD’s database.
The study examined the socio-economic impact of disability and access to safety nets for Jamaican children.
Teran said families need to know that if a child in the family has a disability, it is very important that the child is registered.
“There is an incentive to register. They need to know what kind of social services are available,” he said.
One of the recommendations proposed from this study is the implementation of a referral system that is automatically activated when a child is diagnosed with a disability.
Regardless of whether the diagnosis is made at a public or private medical facility, this information must be sent to JCPD (with parental/guardian consent) for the child to be registered.
Teran said the registration process can be costly for families, so part of UNICEF Jamaica’s advocacy is to make registration free and that registration is done in a way that is easy for families and avoids complications. Not to promote. The process will take a long time to complete.
Persons with disabilities must be registered with JCPD to access the Social Safety Net Program.
Dr. Christine Hendricks, Executive Director of JCPD, pointed out that costs associated with registration arise from medical reports that must be completed on behalf of persons with disabilities.
“The cost depends on the type of disability and the professional services required to complete that medical report,” she said.
Dr. Hendricks pointed out that most disabled people can go to regular clinics or public hospitals. However, people with developmental disabilities such as autism will need to go to a professional and have some tests done in order to be able to complete the registration process.
She said the JCPD is working with the Ministry of Health and is also in dialogue with the Jamaican Medical Association to facilitate free registration for persons with disabilities.
Dr. Hendricks revealed that through a future project, with the support of UNICEF Jamaica, JCPD aims to implement a new management information system to enable online registration.
“The JCPD is in the process of finalizing or standardizing its operating procedures as a legal entity and an important part of the council’s mandate is to register persons with disabilities and maintain a confidential registry,” she said. .
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