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Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke, has called on persons and organisations interested in the welfare of the nation’s young, to form partnerships that can work to improve parenting skills, which in turn, can benefit parents.
“Let us work together, let us collaborate, let us establish partnerships in our intervention to improve parenting practices and skills in this island,” she stressed, while delivering the keynote address to launch National Action Day at the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH)’s headquarters at National Heroes Circle, today (May 19).
Speaking against the background of the breakdown in family life and values, Mrs. Clarke said a number of strategies would have to be examined if corrective action is to be taken.
The establishment of partnerships would be a primary goal among these strategies, the Children’s Advocate said.
Citing data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s most recent Economic and Planning Survey, she informed that some 573 children, aged 14 and under, were victims of crime last year. She added that 53 children, aged 12 to 14, were also arrested for major crimes, including murder, last year.
The official launch of National Action Day preceded the painting of the day care and basic school buildings, housed on the premises, by volunteers.
Designated as the national activity to observe the special day for Child Month, the children as well as members of the National Child Month Committee (NCMC), the Police Officers’ wives, who donated some of the materials, and the North Portmore Optimist Club also focused on enhancing the look of the dormitory and holding areas by hanging valances.
Some 20 children attached to the Learning, Earning, Activity Programme (LEAP), were among many persons who participated in beautifying the play area at the headquarters.
‘Restore the Family, Save Our Children’ was selected as the theme by the National Child Month Committee to host this year’s Child Month activities. Vivienne DaCosta, a member of the committee’s Board, explained that the four objectives for Child Month were: bringing together many agencies to focus on the needs of children; heightening public awareness of the issues and challenges affecting the development of children; mobilising resources and facilitating action to support the focus on children; and recognising outstanding voluntary services rendered by children in their communities.