United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Jamaica Deputy Country Representative Vicente Teran is urging parents and guardians of children with disabilities (CWD) to register their children with the Jamaica Council of Disabled Persons (JCPD). be registered. They need to know what kind of social services are available,” he said.
Teran said UNICEF has been supporting JCPD efforts to identify and register CWD for several years.
However, a recent study commissioned jointly with the Department of Labor and Social Security revealed that some CWD, particularly those living in rural Jamaica, were not captured in the JCPD database.
The study examined the socio-economic impact of disability and access to safety nets for Jamaican children.
One of the recommendations of 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.
Terran said part of UNICEF Jamaica’s argument was to make the registration fee free as the registration process can be costly for families. It should be done in a way that is simple for the family, not such a complicated matter.
JCPD Executive Director Dr. Christine Hendricks explained 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, must go to a professional and undergo some tests in order 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.
“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.