Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (centre) with senior officials from the signing entities including Family Care Authority, Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, and Abu Dhabi Police Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: A new ‘Child Centre’ will be established in Abu Dhabi to stand guard against maltreatment of minors and offer support services for families, it was revealed on Thursday.

The announcement came during the signing of agreements between the Family Care Authority and four government entities in the capital, in the presence of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Court for Development and Fallen Heroes’ Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA).

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The signing parties included the Family Care Authority, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, and Abu Dhabi Police.

The purpose is to unify and integrate the efforts and services of government entities for enabling early detection and intervention for at-risk cases. The agreements aim to establish the Child Centre “to ensure the safety, protection, and well-being of every child in Abu Dhabi”. These efforts are part of strengthening prevention and intervention measures to protect children in the emirate of Abu Dhabi following the recently launched Child Protection Policy ‘Dam Al Aman’.

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'Comprehensive approach'

Sheikh Theyab said: “The safety and well-being of our children are of utmost importance. The establishment of the Child Center is the result of the forward-looking vision of our wise leadership in creating a suitable environment for children’s development and the collaborative efforts between various entities in the Abu Dhabi, coming together to create a comprehensive approach to child protective services in the emirate.”

He added: “This initiative aims to enhance the child protection system in the emirate and raise community awareness about the importance of child protection, ensures the upbringing of conscious generations capable of contributing to societal progress and development by protecting the best interests of the child, ensures their security and stability, and enhances their awareness of their heritage, values, and principles ingrained in their society.”

Range of services

The services to be provided at the Child Centre include case coordination and management, investigative interviews, social and psychological interventions, medical examinations when deemed necessary, and other support services. Through the services of a professional multidisciplinary team, the Centre will facilitate and ensure seamless coordination of child protection cases among the various entities represented therein, meeting the needs of vulnerable children and their families throughout their recovery journey.

According to the agreements, the Child Centre will be operated by the Family Care Authority through a series of measures aimed at protecting children while working in partnership with various governmental and community entities to ensure the welfare of children in a safe and stable environment that respects their rights and understands their needs.

The Child Centre’s efforts will also focus on raising community awareness about all forms of maltreatment and its dangers, different reporting methods, enhancing family cohesion, and ensuring child safety.

‘Beacon of care’

Dr Noura Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), said: “Under the directives of our wise leadership, the establishment of the Child Centre reflects our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of Abu Dhabi’s children while providing them with a healthy and positive upbringing. The Department remains dedicated to providing the children of the community with the highest quality of healthcare services that meet their evolving needs, prioritising early detection and intervention strategies.”

Dr Bushra Al Mulla, Director-General, Family Care Authority, said: “The Child Centre serves as a beacon of integrated care, offering a wide range of services under one roof, with a focus on child protection, early care, education, health, and family support through coordination among various social and government entities.”