Government allocates funds to establish first child well-being center

July 11, 2024 4:45 pm

The government has allocated funds to renovate the Vunirewa Bible School in Serua, which is set to become the first child well-being center in the country.

Minister for Children Lynda Tabuya confirmed this in Parliament, stating that the Methodist Church has donated the building to the Ministry through an agreement.

She noted that the setup of the center is still subject to cabinet approval.

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Tabuya says the facility will have a clinical component, for which a consultation will be conducted with the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry aims to protect children who have been living on the streets, and Tabuya states that various segments of the law will be reviewed.

“We do not have the power to remove children or adults from the streets unless a crime has been committed. When we take them back to their homes, they tend to return to the streets. It’s for their safety to remove them from the street but not to confine them in such a center, which also requires a review of the police law.”

Lynda Tabuya [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

She added that currently, confining someone, for example to Saint Giles Hospital, still requires family consent.

The Ministry for Women, Children, and Social Protection has been allocated $199.5 million in the 2024-25 national budget.

From this amount, $800,000 has been allocated for the establishment of the Department of Children, which will have the statutory responsibility to ensure the safety and protection of Fijian children.