BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
UNICEF with support from the Australian Government donated two 20-ft ray boats to the Department of Social Welfare of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services at Y-Sato yesterday.
The two boats are 40hp OBMs as well as Marine safety gear.
The boats are meant for social welfare officers in Isabel and Western provinces with aim to strengthen child protection systems mandated by the Child and Family Welfare Act.
The UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Dr Zelalem Taffesse, said the provision of the boats is part of the financial and technical support provided by UNICEF to the Social Welfare Division of the MHMS.
And that is in recognition of the logistic needs of the Division in meeting its mandate under the Act, he adds.
He assures that UNICEF remains committed to support the Government and People of Solomon Islands in meeting their obligations to fulfil the rights of every child as enshrined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was ratified by the Solomon Islands in 1995.
Taffesse recognised the continuous support and partnership of the Government of Australia in providing protection for the children of Solomon Islands.
Director of Social Welfare Division for MHMS Ms Linda Tupe acknowledged the receipts of the boats thanking UNICEF and DFAT for the continued assistance.
She said the boats would go a long way in helping social welfare officers in the two provinces reach all the communities under their care.
Meanwhile, the Child Act was passed by Parliament in February 2017 following six years of advocacy and lobbying.
In addition to the definition of abuse, exploitation and neglect, the Act assigns the social welfare workforce the legal mandate to provide care and protection for children.
This includes collaboration with other government agencies, NGOs and faith-based organisations, while reinforcing the traditional roles of families and communities for the care and well-being of their children.
The Act defines circumstances where a child may be in need of care and protection and outlines procedures for reporting and responses.
Furthermore, types of protection actions that could be taken such as agreement with families or an order from the court if necessary.