Children in Guyana are exposed to neglect at home, in school, in their communities and in the wider society. The attention of this study is on neglect in the home and by the caregiver. A growing number of children do not receive adequate physical and psychosocial care from parents and caregivers. A 2016 study commissioned by ChildLinK shows that institutional care of children has increased over the past ten years, and the family environment is likely to be further exposed to violence. The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) and media reports also continue to illustrate that the bulk of child protection issues were in the realm of child neglect (Guyana Chronicle, 2016). However, the main issues on the neglect of children are not aggregated. It is therefore not clear what are the main contributing factors of child neglect, particularly given the high percentage of what is seemingly a socio-economic challenge in review of the national reported cases of violence against children.
ChildLinK therefore commissioned this paper that critically examines the factors of child neglect in Guyana. The purpose is to engage all key stakeholders with the findings and promote the introduction of evidence based advocacy to influence policies and actions to safeguard and protect children. This position paper provides evidence to the Child Rights Alliance (CRA) on issues of childcare to strengthen initiatives and evidence based advocacy for the CRA to lobby government for better policies and resources for the protection of children. Specifically, the position paper will establish and build upon the following thematic issues:
- Definition of neglect within the context of Guyana
- Factors that leads to children being neglected
- Who are the children that are neglected?
- Children stories and experiences of neglect and by whom were they neglected?
- Parents and carers experiences whose children have been removed as a result of neglect
- The national response, skills, resources and programmes to address this challenge.