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Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite speaking with GIS Principal, Erwin Leacock and Rector of??St. Catherine’s??Church, Reverend Ryan Boyce.??(A.Miller/BGIS)

Parents are being encouraged to seek out relevant agencies to get help for their children early.

This call was made by Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, during an ecumenical church service at the St. Philip Anglican Church on Sunday, June 2 as part of the 130th anniversary celebrations of the Government Industrial School (GIS).

Mr. Brathwaite urged parents to work with the relevant agencies such as the Probation Department, the Juvenile Liaison Scheme and the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) at schools, to seek help for their children.

However, he noted that the children who needed help the most, were the ones whose parents missed most of the PTA meetings or did not attend. "I encourage all parents to accept their responsibility," the Minister challenged.

He pointed out that there were instances where parents missed meetings about their children because they could not afford to give up a day’s pay. Mr. Brathwaite then called on employers to come on board and recognise that when they allowed a parent time to attend a meeting on behalf of their child, they were in fact giving back to society.

We all need to assist our troubled youth, and if we work together we will succeed," the Attorney General stated.

Principal of the GIS, Erwin Leacock, noted that after 130 years in existence, they were hoping to "resuscitate something which is part of the DNA of Barbados".?? While stating that it took more than a family to raise a child, he said, "the whole community must participate. It is time to go back to that. The community must take responsibility for all children despite their circumstances."

Rector of the St. Philip Anglican Church, Reverend Trevor O’Neale, also called on society to embrace children when they failed and reassure them as they faced problems, which were widespread and growing worse. "You hear about children going to bed hungry, those who are homeless, and those who go by someone to sleep for a night. You hear about those who are abused, abandoned, neglected; children who are

victims of their parents’ divorce and family breakdowns. Many of our young people are searching for value and meaning in their lives," he said.

However, he called on society and the family to show children love and Reverend O’Neale said: "We need to listen to our children more. Don’t only listen, but hear them."

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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