The time has come for a different approach to target at-risk families to ensure that they get the required help.
This was one of the solutions put forward during the second town hall meeting on Parenting and Socialisation in a Changing Society amidst concerns that intervention programmes offered by various institutions were not reaching those for whom they were intended.
Speaking during the town hall meeting at the Alexandra School, Director of the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit, Cheryl Willoughby, said: “Parents who need the help the most are not coming forward to accept the help. It is offered but they are not interested.”
Mrs. Willoughby was supported in this view by Director of Parent Education for Development in Barbados (PAREDOS), Sheila Stuart, who stressed that there was a “dire need” for parenting skills in Barbados.
She explained that PAREDOS offered parenting classes, but the majority of parents who attended sessions were usually referrals from the Child Care Board (CCB) or those sent through the court.
“You never reach the families that you need to reach,” she stated, stressing it was difficult to get the parents who needed to be reached.
However, Child Care Officer at the CCB, Colin St. Hill, said authorities could not continue to do things the same way and expect to get a different result.
He recommended making attending parenting classes mandatory for those trying to access welfare; doing 15-minute presentations to pregnant women attending clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; and offering tickets to events on the condition that those receiving them would attend parenting sessions.
“Sometimes we need to look for a different strategy or approach,” Mr. St. Hill said, adding that Child Month celebrations should also contain a day for parenting sessions, where parents could learn from each other.