ECA Launches Child Protection Specialists Training Program in Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has launched, on Monday, the first wave of Child Protection Specialist Training Program in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with Georgetown University, one of the leading entities in early childhood development (ECD) science and studies worldwide. Under the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of ECA, the program aims at enabling 100 Emirati practitioners within the social support sectors, to develop their skills in child protection and welfare, receive child protection specialist certification, and obtain the status of judicial officers from Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD).

Child Protection Specialist Training Program is part of ECA’s efforts to develop a standardized child protection system in Abu Dhabi, to prevent child abuse and negligence, improve reporting system, and create a supportive environment for child development.

Inaugurating the program took place during a virtual session attended by H.H. Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of ECA’s Board of Trustees and Chair of ECA’s Higher Committee, H.E. Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili Chairman of Department of Community Development (DCD), H.E. Sana Mohamad Suhail, Head of ECA’s Founding Team, a number of social support sector’s leaders in Abu Dhabi, representatives of Abu Dhabi Judicial Academy (ADJA), and participants in the program.

In this regard, H.H. Sheikh Theyab said that Abu Dhabi seeks to establish solid foundations to develop children protection system in Abu Dhabi, give children the best care they need, foster citizen engagement in advancing ECD sector, due to its vital role in achieving other sectors’ sustainable development, and strengthen strategic bonds between national social support entities and citizens. His Highness noted the program also supports the growth and prosperity of Abu Dhabi and establishes its position as one of the best cities in the world in providing a supportive and stimulating environment for child development and growth.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab affirmed that launching Child Protection Specialist Training Program, in partnership with Ministry of Community Development, DCD and Georgetown University, will enable trainees to better understand the conditions of the executive by-laws of child rights law known as “Wadeema”, and relevant global regulations that are aligned with the UAE’s laws and social values. In addition to localizing the best child protection-related practices, the program aims to qualify Emirati practitioners to lead this important sector in the future.

Her Excellency Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid stated that the training program for child protection specialists in Abu Dhabi, comes in accordance with the requirements of “Wadeema” law, in an initial stage to train (25) trainees out of targeted (100) in the program who meet the conditions of Article (9) of the Cabinet’s Decision No. (52) of 2018 concerning the executive by-laws of “Wadeema” Law. Her Excellency noted that the program qualifies social and psychological specialists to exercise their duties as child protection specialists taking preventive intervention in cases where the child’s health or safety is found to be at risk, and therapeutic intervention in abuse cases, exploitation and neglect incurred on the child in violation of the provisions of the law, regulations and decisions issued in implementation thereof.

Her Excellency noted that the program qualifies the participants to be child protection specialists given the judicial officers to exercise their duties, protect and maintain the best interests of the child above any considerations and priority in all circumstances whatever the interests of any other parties.

Her Excellency elaborated that the program was designed jointly with ECA, Ministry of Community Development and DCD. It will be presented through Georgetown University, one of the oldest universities in the United States of America known in the early childhood development sector in accordance with the regulations and legislations of the UAE. This program will provide the highest level of safety and stability for children given the impact it has on the methods of solving problems that any child would encounter. The judicial officer role is reflected through his duties and direct impact on the health, physical, psychological, mental or moral safety and security of the child, and therapeutic intervention in abuse cases, exploitation and neglect incurred on the child in violation of the provisions of the law, regulations and decisions issued in implementation thereof.

For his side, H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, praised ECA’s efforts in organizing the training in Abu Dhabi. He added the program comes in line with the social sector plan, which aims at creating a stable and nurturing environment that meets all family members’ needs, especially children at their early years, providing a decent life for all members of society, and developing an integrated system to protect children from all forms of abuse and negligence, in cooperation with partners from various sectors in Abu Dhabi.

“As we are looking forward to bringing up a generation of young people equipped with knowledge and necessary skills to overcome challenges, taking care of children and investing in childhood development is a priority we are focusing on. By launching this program, we will strive to qualify child protection specialists, as they will play a pivotal role in enhancing the child protection system, as well as establishing community and family cohesion in Abu Dhabi,” Al Khaili said.

On the other hand, H.E. Counselor Yousef Saeed Al-Abri, Undersecretary of ADJD and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Judicial Academy (ADJA), said that launching Child Protection Specialist Training Program comes within efforts aimed at developing an integrated system to preserve children’s rights and protect them against all forms of negligence, abuse or exploitation. This ensures proper child growth at a supportive environment based on scientific grounds, solid rules and systematic training plans.

“Under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADJD, the department is paying great attention to all plans and initiatives aimed at preserving children’s rights, by strengthening cooperation with relevant entities, which contributes to achieving the desired goals and fulfilling our wise leadership’s vision to create an environment supports children development and growth,” Al-Abri added.

According to Al-Abri, attendees will subject to intensive training for eight weeks. He clarified the training aims at granting law enforcement capacity to child protection specialists, preparing child protection inspectors aware of all aspects of judicial and administrative control according to current laws, fostering their capabilities in taking legal and proactive measures to prevent children abuse, negligence, exploitation or exposure to violence, and developing their legal skills in addressing the needs of abused children.

Al-Abri noted that ADJA provides integrated training modules, delivered by national and international experts, helping trainees to be acquainted with knowledge, skills, and legal protections included in international treaties, federal and local legislation, which constitutes an integrated system to protect children, ensure their sustainable development, and preserve their rights. By focusing on practical exercises and simulations, trainees will be qualified for obtaining child protection specialist certificate and law enforcement capacity, to ensure enforcing law and providing an adequate protection for children, he said.

Through the 10-week program that consists of five major phases, trainees will receive intensive training on law enforcement capacity and child protection system. In addition to highlighting the conditions of the executive by-laws of child rights law “Wadeema” Law by ADJD and a number of experts from Georgetown University, trainees will take part in practical training to identify child abuse and ways to address it properly. Moreover, they will watch video recordings of field interviews for child protection specialists with children.

At the end of the training Program, trainees will receive child protection specialist certificate. They will be granted law enforcement capacity by ADJD, to ensure protecting children from any risks or abuse.

ECA is working on strengthening the child protection system from prevention to rehabilitation, developing capacities of parents and community members to support children’s needs and ensure their well-being, encouraging the adoption of proper behaviors contribute to children development, developing ECD-related policies and legislation, and implementing a proactive, evidence-based and workable strategy to advance early childhood sector.


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