HTCC says its founder Betty Ann Blaine was a children’s champion Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica’s children have lost one of their most dedicated advocates, and the country, a dedicated, multi-faceted developmental giant in Betty Ann Blaine.

That’s from the opening line in a tribute from Hear The Children’s Cry (HTCC), the lobby group for children that Blaine founded over 20 years ago.

At its founding in 2002, Blaine was referred to as children’s advocate years before Jamaica appointed its first Children’s Advocate in 2006.

Blaine passed away on Monday morning at her daughter’s home in Georgia in the United States after a long period of illness. She had continued to work tirelessly during her illness via WhatsApp, to advance her advocacy.

HTCC said Blaine, 75, was surrounded by her loving family when she passed.

It described her as “Jamaica’s leading advocate and activist for the welfare of children and their families, and for the eradication of poverty.

“Her body of work also included over 30 years as an academic and a developmental specialist, a dynamic leader in the Jamaican NGO community and in the call for honesty, accountability and transparency in national affairs,” HTCC added.

Blaine was the founder of two national organisations which provide urgently needed support for inner-city children, adolescents and their families. These are Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), founded in 1992, and HTCC in 2002.

The children’s advocate served as the pioneering Holistic Child Development Coordinator at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in Kingston, and hosted two former weekday morning radio talk shows, ‘On The Agenda’ and ‘Blaine and Crawford’.

She also served as a university lecturer in southern African and black American history, and was a leading spokesperson in the Jamaican Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Blaine continued to work in both the print and electronic media to inform, educate and engage in national dialogue on issues and concerns to citizens, mainly regarding children and their families.

Among her special outreaches across Jamaica, Blaine is lovingly remembered by the team at the City and Guilds Representative’s Jamaican office for her dedication and support. She spent many years (2010 to 2018) doing student presentations for that team.

“During these, she told Jamaican high school students about the options for certification, encouraging them to pursue non-traditional vocational pathways. This was in keeping with her lifelong strategy and mantra, that all children deserved to succeed,” said HTCC.

Betty Ann Blaine was born in Kingston and raised in Harbour View, St Andrew. She attended Excelsior High School and gained her BA from Hunter College and her masters from Columbia University.

In addition to her child advocacy, she brought her entrepreneurial spirit to many ventures, including launching several businesses to support the local economy, perhaps the best known being The Fish Place Restaurant.

Blaine was a committed Christian and the proud mother of two grown daughters, Tarika and Monifa Barrett, and was grandmother of four and great grand to one.