COMMUNITIES ENCOURAGED TO BE PROACTIVE IN PROTECTING CHILDREN

Posted by SR (riley) on May 17 2017 at 5:13 PM
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State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, is encouraging residents to be more proactive in safeguarding children in their neighbourhoods.  “Be vigilant in your communities, once you suspect something, make a report. The law says if you know something, you must say something,” he said.  Minister Green was speaking at a Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) Parenting Education Project graduation and recognition ceremony, organised by the Ministry, at St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church in May Pen, Clarendon, on May 4.  

Minister Green said that consequent on the more than 1,200 reports of child abuse received each month, there was a need for zero tolerance to this illicit act.  “Recognise every child as your child and your responsibility, we have to stop the culture of silence,” he said. Minister Green is urging delinquent fathers to take responsibility for maintaining their children.  “We must go on a drive to go after the fathers because there are a number of good ones out there,” he said.The State Minister also underscored the need for more fathers to participate in engagements tailored to enhance parenting skills, citing the just concluded programme, which saw only mothers attending, as an example.“We need to change the culture of these parenting workshops that show the involvement of mostly women.  The men are not living up to their responsibilities and too many of us are OK with this; we need to call them out,” Minister Green emphasised.

Meanwhile, the State Minister encouraged the programme’s participants to maximise on the information and training they received by, among other things, instilling positive habits in their children.  “Spread the learning you have gained to your communities because we could not touch all the parents who need it.  You now have the social skills to help others to be better parents.  If you spread the word, all the children in the communities will be helped and the communities will be transformed,” he added. PATH Project Director, Mrs. Elsa Marks-Willis, said that the parenting programme resulted from a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which provided funding support, adding that the initiative targeted the promotion of positive parenting practices and family management skills among PATH parents and caregivers of children, age two to six years.  The Director also urged the beneficiaries to make the most of what they learnt.   “You have been given this opportunity to participate in a very worthwhile initiative. The home is the first place where children learn good values, attitudes and behaviour. Parents play a vital role in their children’s development and we encourage you to use the knowledge gained from the parenting education programme to guide how you raise and care for your children,” she said.

One of the participants, Ms. Ann Pinnock of Kellits in Clarendon, who received a plaque of special commendation, said the programme was beneficial in several ways, including parenting styles; guidelines for planning more nutritious meals for children; and ways to better communicate with the youngsters.  “I am now able to identify more of my positive traits, be empowered as an individual and as a parent and I am aware of techniques that I can practise to boost my self-esteem and self-image.  We and our children are better able to identify situations that can cause them harm or contribute to it.  Now that I am empowered, I plan to be a successful entrepreneur as my self-esteem has turned up 100 per cent,” she added.

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