Trinidad and Tobago (“Trinbago”) recently passed child protection legislation intended to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The new law establishes the Children’s Authority as a centralized agency to investigate and respond to child abuse. Absent from the law is an express policy with respect to permanency, the term used in child protection for ensuring that each child has an enduring family. Partly in response to feedback from stakeholders, including children, the Children’s Authority has said it plans to prioritize family settings for children. This article explores what that means for a country embarking on its first comprehensive state-run civil child protection system. The article argues that the CRC requires states to prioritize family integrity and to use local norms in defining family. In doing so, Trinbago should seek to leverage and strengthen its rich local tradition of kinship and communal child-rearing. It also offers a comparative view from Western child protection systems to highlight the myriad ways in which a philosophy about permanency impacts the structure of the child protection system. Although situated in the Trinidad and Tobago context, the framework offered for thinking about permanency has broader application for child protection system design.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child,
- International Children's Rights,
- Child Protection,
- Child Welfare
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kele_stewart/2/