Promoting Child Rights

Type Conference Paper - The Caribbean Child Research Conference
Title Promoting Child Rights
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
City Kingston
Country/State Jamaica
St Lucia is a small developing country and
a member of the Or
ganization of Eastern
Caribbean States. It is a middle-income
country with a population of approximately
158,018, of which approximately one third are
children. For such a small country, the
role of children in sustained development cannot be over-emphasized.
This paper examines the quality of life of ch
ildren in St Lucia. It reviews the status of
children using the Convention of the Rights of the Child as a yard stick and also
contextualizes its analysis within the fram
ework of the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) with special attention to Goal 1
– Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – and
Target 1– Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who fall below the
poverty line.
The analysis uses both secondary and
primary data. Country reports and studies, and
data from the 2004 Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire Survey (CWIQ), are reviewed
and analyzed with reference to internationa
l conventions, and the quality of life of
children living in poverty is assessed. Elite
interviews were also
carried out with key
officials in the state system.
The analyses indicated that there is
state commitment to the conventions and the
MDGs and in fact, there have been many r
ecent policy adjustments and increases in
benefits to children, especially to the mo
st vulnerable ones. However, quality in access
remains an issue, and the poor children from both rural areas and urban areas are
particularly vulnerable. The CWIQ Survey
reported that 61 per
cent of households
contained children living in a non-nuclear family setting, and of all households, 43 per
cent were female-headed. Poverty conti
nues to impact negatively on the nation’s
children. Bureaucratic “red tape” hinders
equitable access and there must be some
drastic institutional changes (e.g., negative sa
nctions for poor quality services) to ensure
that “the best interests” of the St
Lucian child are served at all times.

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