Approximately 80 volunteers have been commissioned as Parent Mentors by the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) to provide assistance to families.
The mentors, who were trained through 10 modules over several weeks, will help to guide parents in proper disciplinary measures and offer other means of support.
Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, commended the volunteers from various communities across the island, for coming forward as parent mentors.
The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the recent graduation ceremony held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
She said that anecdotal media reports and studies confirm that some parents need targeted guidance and coaching in raising their children.
She cited a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report, which indicates that up to 80 per cent of Jamaican children experience violence in all forms at home and 65 per cent encounter bullying at school.
“The factors that cause parents not to be as effective as they should be vary, ranging from social and economic challenges that can lead to high levels of stress, which are then manifested and transferred as aggression towards children, and acceptance of cultural behaviour as normal, when in fact, they are not,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Williams informed that the Ministry is seeking funding for a programme that would “allow at least 10 sessions of heavy-duty psychosocial support for parents and children.”
For her part, Chief Executive Officer of the NPSC, Kaysia Kerr, said that the parent mentorship programme remains the flagship initiative of the commission, with roughly 400 mentors across the island.
“Each mentor is mapped to several schools within a five-mile radius of where they reside and they offer support to help to build out the parental involvement framework in schools, because that’s what we’re about,” she noted.