One of deliverables of the Juvenile Court Project (JCP) is to set up a specialised Children Court System in Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, courts do hear children matters. However, there are no dedicated courts with the appropriate mechanisms and supporting social services in place to ensure speedy and efficient resolution of cases and access to intervention programmes for children and families.
Through the JCP, specialised Children Courts will be established in two locations in Trinidad and Tobago. In order for the courts to function as desired, the JCP will:
The Children Court will be operationalised within the last quarter of 2017.
The Children Court is a sub-division of the Family and Children Division of the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago which will handle all children matters involving persons under the age of 18. Children matters include:
The Children Court will support the rehabilitation of children who come into conflict with the law. In seeking the rehabilitation of children, this Court also applies principles of Restorative Justice.
When a child enters the Children Court system, he or she may undergo different types of assessments (risk, psycho-social, medical, etc.) to identify particular needs that must be addressed through the Court. This Children Court may also order investigations into the child’s background and environment in order to assist judicial officers in determining the best solution for the child. In this Court, children also have access to social services and programmes intended to reduce the possibility of them re-offending.
In sum, the Children Court is committed to supporting the re-integration of child offenders back into society while providing justice for victims and upholding public safety.