Nat'l parenting body intensifies public-education campaign
The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) is stepping up its efforts to empower parents with the knowledge and skills to effectively raise their children.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid, in a statement in the Senate on Friday, said the entity would roll out a campaign focused on the issue of abuse, beginning with a public-service announcement (PSA) to be aired soon.
On December 1, the NPSC will launch its parenting education programme in Region 4, which includes Westmore-land, Hanover, and St James.
The education minister said that parenting education interventions are now being rolled out to other regions.
The minister's statement to the Senate comes against the background of recent debate on corporal punishment coming out of videos posted on social media that showed children being brutally beaten as a form of discipline.
Reid said he was "deeply moved" by the videos, which he said represented "the negative manifestation of the breakdown in the family".
He said that the society cannot condone acts of violence meted out against children in the name of discipline, "not in the homes, not in schools, and not in the wider society".
"We cannot continue to grow our children this way and expect them to be emotionally well-adjusted teenagers growing into mature adults," he argued.
Reid said the Government "takes these issues (of violence) seriously" and has undertaken specific action in relation to the videos, offering support and guidance where necessary.
Data show increase in child abuse cases
The minister cited statistics from the Office of the Children's Registry, which showed an increased number of reports of physical abuse linked to corporal punishments.
Three thousand two hundred and fourteen physical abuse reports were received in 2014, while 3,639 reports were received in 2015.
In addition, the investigation unit of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency has indicated that close to 2,000 of the matters investigated up to October 2017 were related to physical abuse.
The minister said that the lesson that must not be missed coming out of these incidents of abuse is that "our men are largely absent, and mothers are often frustrated and stressed."
"There is clear need for us to understand the factors that have driven and influenced parents to plan, or not plan, for their families' lives. We cannot ignore the clear signs of danger. We must, at this time, effect critical interventions to change current and future parental practices for Jamaica," he said.