Blaine suggests sharper focus on operational hours for Gov't day-care centres
Betty Ann Blaine, co-founder of Hear The Children's Cry, welcomed news of the establishment of government-sponsored day-care centres, but strongly suggested that they operate between the times when school is dismissed and when parents get home.
Floyd Green, state minister in the youth ministry, announced at the International Safeguarding Children Conference recently that the Government was in the process of establishing day-care centres that would go a far way in assisting parents to balance work demands.
"We are going to be establishing government-sponsored day care centres. The plan is to do two per constituency. We will be identifying locations that are suitable that can take our children from as early as five months. And, most importantly, the cost would be zero to send our children there," he said.
Blaine, however, said that it is critical that serious consideration is given to the times the centres will be operating.
"Government-sponsored day-care centres are something I have been talking about for years. However, I'm particularly interested in the time these centres will operate," Blaine said, adding that she has been pushing for the centres to open in the afternoons after school, "because a lot of the children get abused between the time school would have been dismissed and when the parents get home.
"We need safe places for the children to be between 2:30 p.m. and six in the evening. I remember a case I dealt with, where a six-year-old was sexually molested by a neighbour between that gap, when school was dismissed and when the mother returned home. It's a serious issue and we have to make sure that we cover all the gaps," she charged.