Civil Rights group Jamaicans for Justice, JFJ, is expressing concern about the frequency of fires that have occurred in childcare facilities.
In a statement over the weekend, the JFJ says it’s alarmed that the fire which ravaged the Jamaica National Children’s Home in St Andrew two weeks ago, is the sixth fire at a childcare institution in 10 years.
The JFJ is also worried that the latest fire occurred a mere 18-months after a fire at the Walkers Place of Safety which resulted in the death of two children and the disruption of the lives of another 34 wards of the state.
The human rights lobby says it’s troubled by the frequency and severity of fires in childcare facilities.
The JFJ is urging the government to ensure a swift and thorough review of state homes be carried out.
It’s also calling for the results to be made publicly available in a timely manner.
The JFJ says in the interest of transparency and public accountability, it’s urging the government to probe the circumstances surrounding the fire at the Jamaica National Children’s Home and publish a comprehensive report.
Meanwhile, the JFJ says it strongly believes that housing a large number of children in childcare institutions isn’t in their best interest.
It says research has shown that children in institutional settings are disproportionately exposed to higher levels of harm and threats to their safety and well-being.
It’s calling for greater efforts to be made to ensure that where children are in need of alternative care, they are placed in family-based settings rather than in institutions.