Families are being encouraged to reach out and support other families who may be experiencing challenges.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, made this call last Friday, as he addressed a press briefing to launch Child Month 2022, under the theme: Nurturing Children and Strengthening Families at the Ministry’s headquarters.
“It does not necessarily mean financially. It means taking the children out, support some in the household, expose children to something that they probably wouldn’t be exposed to [in a positive way]. Take the children to things that they couldn’t normally experience in their own life circumstances. These are going to be the important things as we go forward,” he outlined.
He stressed that families played the most important role in child care, especially during the period infancy to adolescence, but maintained that having good institutions was still no replacement for a family.
The Minister said it was also important to build on relationships between the child and caregiver to provide a nurturing environment.
He disclosed that discussions were occurring at Cabinet and Ministry levels to start a National Parenting Programme to provide parents with the necessary support they may need.
But, he stressed, that was not a suggestion that people did not know how to parent. “We all feel the need to be able to offer strength and to support parents in what has become very difficult circumstances,” he explained, noting more on that programme would be outlined in the coming weeks.
He also made a call for more parents to come forward and go through the process of becoming foster parents in order to foster children.
During his address, Mr. Humphrey acknowledged that while there were good institutions, there was a need to move away from the concept that the Child Care Board only dealt with children, the National Disabilities Unit, persons with disabilities and the National Assistance Board, the elderly.
“…That kind of silo approach is not going to give us the results that we want. We need to create a Department of Family Services and offer a holistic approach to dealing with family. We must intervene at a family level and to make sure that we move families through these processes seamlessly,” he stated.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Gabrielle Springer; Director of the Child Care Board, Roseann Richards; and Deputy Chairman of the Child Care Board, Kevin Henry, were also present during the launch.