Caribbean Parents urged to secure their children’s birth certificates by March 31st Caribbean Parents urged to secure their children’s birth certificates by March 31st Caribbean Parents urged to secure their children’s birth certificates by March 31st The Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC) is working with the Governments of the Windward Islands on a Birth Registration Catch Up Campaign to ensure that all children under the age of 18 have a fully completed birth certificate by March 31st, 2013.

 

The three-month campaign will run until the end of March in St Lucia, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada’s campaign will begin soon after its General Elections on February 19th and is expected to extend past March 31st.

The campaign, which is funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and coordinated by the FDCC, is part of an ongoing Birth Registration Reform process in the region.

Recent research indicates that thousands of children under the age of 18 in the relevant territories still have no birth certificate or have a document that does not include their names, while on average, names of fathers are missing on over 10,000 birth certificates per territory.

FDCC’s Consultant Director, Susan Branker, says, “It appears that too many parents are still not aware of the importance of their children having a birth certificate or one that has all the relevant information (including the name of the father). It is critical that parents are aware that hospital records and baptismal certificates cannot replace an official birth certificate. The Catch up Campaign will seek to sensitise parents on these issues.”

Miss Branker also noted, “This is a significant identity issue for these children, as the birth certificate document is needed at many junctures in their lives. Secondly, in this new international environment where identity theft and border security are key issues, parents need to ensure that their children have their birth certificates, indicating clearly their full identity and nationality.”

Over the next three months, the campaign will utilise the mass media, posters, interventions at key schools across the country and publicity opportunities to get the message out to the key target audiences.

The overall campaign was launched simultaneously in Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent on January 23rd, 2013.