A special ‘parent-training’ organized by the Social Protection Ministry and geared at boosting parenting skills, will begin this Saturday with the first batch of selected participants.
Saturday’s programme will be held at the Dolphin Secondary School, Broad Street, Charlestown, opposite the Child Protection Agency (CPA’s) head office.
Head of the Child Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene deemed the event as one with a difference, since in addition to the group sessions there will be one-on-one therapy sessions with the participants to address personal dysfunctions.
This would involve professionals from other service agencies particularly to assist with mental health screening and income generation activities.
Greene pointed out that, contrary to what is commonly believed in Guyana, mental health is not synonymous with “madness.”
A press release from the Ministry stated that Saturday’s session will be the first in a series of 3-hour programmes to be held for the next six Saturdays. “The MOSP has also built into the initiative a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) component which will “track the participants for one year,” after the final training session,” Greene said.
The programme will be conducted in all the regions.
The monitoring and evaluation of the parents is scheduled to take place every three months and will be fully funded by the Ministry.
The programme is part of a wider MOSP initiative to raise national consciousness about child abuse and its devastation to their lives.
Continuing she said, “We want to remove the notion that child protection is solely a Ministry of Social Protection responsibility.”
She highlighted that neglect is “a serious form of abuse” which affects children physically and psychologically. According to Greene, some of the damage suffered by neglected children may even be irreparable.
Greene disagreed that the national plan for more awareness and involvement of the populace will violate people’s individual rights, noting that under the Child Protection Act “all adults have a legal and moral responsibility to report abuse.”
According to the CPA Head “when it comes to child abuse we all have to be “nosey parkers,” reminding that reporting child abuse is not tantamount to ‘snitching.’
The MOSP hopes to achieve a change in attitude nationwide when it comes to child abuse through the forthcoming initiatives.
The CPA Head has faced its fair share of criticisms with the chief allegation being it ruins families by taking away the children. “We are not the bad guys we are the helpers. We provide support to ensure that children are free from harm and abuse and we need co-operation,” she pleaded.
She lamented that her agency “does not get cooperation” from many parents.“We don’t come to take away children this is the last resort and even when we do this it is temporary, since the goal is to return children to their natural families and to prevent unnecessary separation,” Greene explained.
In this regard, the Ministry will be networking with religious institutions, community groups, stakeholders and civil society bodies nationwide to be ‘watch dogs’ to help stamp out abuse of Guyanese children.
Greene said the lack of available role models for young men is another deficiency in the effort of empowering men.
The ongoing move to merge the Women’s and Men’s Affairs Bureaus is part of a broader MOSP strategy to achieve parity in empowerment among the genders here, she posited.