Jan 06, 2016 News
“Parenting is in trouble,” this was the assertion of Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency
(CPA), Ms. Ann Greene. Moreover, Greene at a recent forum related that moves are apace to help strengthen families so that they can take better care of their children.
In this regard, an awareness programme is on the cards this year which will seek to promote early childhood development.
This is particularly crucial, Greene noted, because “early childhood development years are serious years for a child…that is like building the foundation for a house, because you want it to withstand the weather…it is the same thing with children.”
“They must have the early childhood experiences that can prepare them for life; they must have the tools to succeed,” said Greene.
In the quest to help with the early childhood preparation for children, Greene related that efforts are being made to register and licence a targeted 300 day care facilities. Thus far there are 280 facilities on board and, according to Greene, “we have started to work with them to get them to (at least) the minimum standard…”
As such, she noted that efforts will be made to reach out to not only parents, but also care givers, with a view of helping them to understand how important the early days of a child’s life are.
In addition to the planned awareness venture targeting parents and caregivers, Greene disclosed plans for a national awareness programme exercise which will direct keen focus on the issue of child abuse.
“This is to move people to take action to protect children,” said Greene. She also amplified the fact that while there is the obvious need to give help to children, support for the parents also cannot be disregarded.
Greene pointed out that while some children are removed from dysfunctional homes, there is always the expectation that they will eventually be returned to their families.
“The ultimate goal is always for the child to return, but because the (CPA) staff is so swamped with rescuing children, there is not enough time really to work with the families. So we are hoping that with collaboration with our NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) partners and even the students of the Social Work Department of the University of Guyana, we will be able to provide more support to parents to strengthen them so that they can take better care of their children,” Greene related.
For this reason, she noted that a special programme is being streamlined for parents whose children were removed or are at risk of removal with a view of helping them to combat social dysfunctions.
According to Greene, “it is so easy to fix the children but it is difficult to fix the parents, it would take a lifetime sometimes to fix the parents because of the dysfunction”. She pointed out that there are at least four areas that have been known to affect parents. Primary among these, she said, is that of parents’ mental health state.
And according to her, some parents are not enjoying good mental health, a state of affairs which could have a dire impact on children. The negative impact is also realised when parents indulge in substance abuse, alcoholism and domestic abuse, Greene added.
“We must be able to provide more resources for families so that they can better be able to take care of their children,” stressed the CPA Director, as she spoke of plans to build staff capacity since there is a current shortage. Once this is realised, Greene expressed optimism that the Agency will be poised for even more favourable results this year.
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