First Workshops on Child Safety Code have taken place | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - “Implementing a Child Safety Code will ensure that professionals working with children understand their responsibilities and know what steps to take to report suspected cases of abuse against children,” said Kimberly Dort-Brown, head of the Court of Guardianship, Ministry of Justice.

The Court of Guardianship, with support from UNICEF the Netherlands, has taken the first step in the legislative process by drafting a Child Safety Code for reporting suspected cases of child abuse. The Child Safety Code provides a step-by-step guide to help professionals identify signs of child abuse and neglect and determine the best course of action.

“Professionals from the education and healthcare sectors, such as teachers and doctors, have constant contact with children and are often the first to identify signs of suspected child abuse. There are several steps that professionals should take to determine the safety of the child and the best course of action. The Child Safety Code will provide a clear and legal overview of what steps are required,” explains Neidi de Carvalho, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF the Netherlands.

To ensure that the Child Safety Code reflects the specific needs of the sectors and professionals in Sint Maarten, workshops took place between May 22nd and 27th. These workshops were facilitated by the Court of Guardianship and the AUGEO Foundation as part of the Child Resilience and Protection Project (CRPP). The CRPP is funded by the Sint Maarten Trust Fund and managed by the World Bank.

Mrs. Dort-Brown shares, "This was the first of several workshops, starting with professionals in positions most likely to encounter and report suspected abuse cases. However, the goal is for all professionals serving the children and families of Sint Maarten to participate in similar workshops to familiarize themselves with the Child Safety Code.”

Stakeholders present during the first workshops included representatives from school boards and school care teams, social workers, and healthcare professionals. “The workshops provided stakeholders with an in-depth overview of the Child Safety Code and the opportunity to give feedback regarding the proposed steps for analysis and reporting suspected cases of child abuse. It is important that they feel the presented steps are realistic, clear, and can be applied within their specific work field. We are grateful for the many stakeholders who participated. Without them, we could not actualize the Child Safety Code – and our overall goal to keep children safe,” concludes Mrs. Dort-Brown.

For continued updates on the work of the Court of Guardianship and future news on the development of the Child Safety Code, visit: