Justice; Public Health, Social Development and Labor
Workshops on Child Protection in Emergencies
Fri Oct 27 2023
Professionals from government institutions and NGOs that work with children in emergency and disaster situations were invited to attend two trainings, namely the ‘Minimum Standards in Child Protection (CPMS) in Emergency Refresher’ and the ‘Child Protection in Shelter Management Training’.
The training was guided by the CPMS handbook, which outlines the various actions that can be taken during humanitarian crises to support the physical and emotional health, dignity and well-being of children, families and communities. The Refresher was a follow-up to the Minimum Standards in Child Protection (CPMS) in Emergency Training held in 2018, as several updates have been made to the handbook since then.
Attendees included representatives from the Court of Guardianship (CoG), Border Control, Red Cross, K1 Britannia and Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten, and Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA).
One of the new topics the training covered is the Interisland Protocol which has been established between the Dutch Caribbean islands, in case of evacuation of a minor that is unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. “All stakeholders should be aware that unaccompanied evacuation of children should only happen as a last resort. Also, there are legal requirements that need to be adhered to before children are evacuated after a disaster such as filling out proper documentation at border control and informing the Court of Guardianship,” Kimberly Dort-Brown, Head of the CoG explains.
Once the refresher was completed, several stakeholders also attended a Child Protection in Shelter Management Training – to focus on the steps that need to be taken to ensure child safety when opening and operating an emergency shelter.
“While CDFHA and our shelter partners adhere to a number of operational guidelines when managing our shelters. It is equally critical to inform the public about the precautions taken to ensure the safety of all individuals within the shelter, with a particular emphasis on the safety of children. Some of these rules include never leaving children alone, bringing along food and medication for your child, having them bring along a toy or other items to comfort them and keep them busy, and being extra mindful of your child’s environment after a disaster – as you might not know how infrastructure is affected,” explains Chantale – George- Groeneveldt, Head CDFHA & Women’s Desk.
The workshops were facilitated by Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs and the Court of Guardianship in collaboration with UNICEF the Netherlands as part of the Child Resilience and Projection Project (CRPP), executed by the Government of Sint Maarten, funded by the Government of the Netherlands, through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund managed by the World Bank