Black Immigrant Daily News
Parents and guardians who have children with disabilities (CWD) are being urged to register their children with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Jamaica.
Speaking with, Acting Country Representative, UNICEF Jamaica, Vicente Teran, said registration is a very important issue, and for several years his organisation has been supporting the JCPD in trying to identify and register CWDs.
However, during a study that was commissioned, recently, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, it was revealed that several CWDs, especially those living in rural Jamaica, were not captured in the JCPD’s database.
The study examined the Socio-Economic Impact of Disability on Children and Access to Safety Nets in Jamaica.
According to Mr. Teran, families need to know that if a child in their household has a disability, it is very important that the child is registered.
“There are incentives to being registered; they need to know the types of social services that are available to them,” he said.
One of the recommendations put forward from the study is the implementation of a referral system that is automatically activated upon a child being diagnosed with a disability.
Whether the diagnosis is made at a public or private medical facility, this information should be transmitted (with the parent/guardian’s consent) to the JCPD for the child to be registered.
Mr. Teran said the registration process can be costly for families, so part of the advocacy of UNICEF Jamaica is to push for registration to be free of cost and that it is done in a way that is easy for the families and not a complicated matter that takes a long time for the process to be completed.
In order for a person with disability to access the social safety net programmes he or she should register with the JCPD.
Executive Director of the JCPD, Dr. Christine Hendricks, pointed out that the cost associated with the registration comes from the medical report that has to be completed on behalf of the person with disabilities.
“Cost is incurred depending on the type of disability and the specialised service that may be required to complete that medical report,” she said.
Dr. Hendricks pointed out that most persons with a disability can go to a regular clinic or the public hospital; however, for persons with developmental disabilities, such as Autism, they will have to go to a specialist to do several tests to enable them to complete the registration process.
She said the JCPD is working with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and is also in dialogue with the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association to facilitate the registration of persons with disabilities, free of cost.
Dr. Hendricks disclosed that with support from UNICEF Jamaica, through an upcoming project, the JCPD is seeking to have a new management information system implemented to enable online registration.
“The JCPD is in the process of finalising or standardising operating procedures as body corporate, and a critical part of the Council’s mandate is to register persons with disabilities and maintain a confidential register,” she said.