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JIS News

The Coalition of Better Parenting (CBP), through its various agencies and organisations, is working tirelessly to improve parenting practises in Jamaica.

This is in recognition of the important role that parents play in the development of their children.  

Co-ordinator of the CBP, Doret Crawford, told JIS News that the umbrella body works through its network of some 40 agencies and organisations throughout the island, to carry out a number of activities and programmes focussed on parenting issues.

She noted, for example, that “when Hope for Children, one of our members, has parenting projects in Greenwich Town, Rema (Wilton Gardens) or Jungle (Arnett Gardens), that is the coalition at work."

“When the Women’s Centre steps out and carries out parenting workshops for young fathers and mothers, or when 3-D goes into homes and sensitizes and encourages  the parents of children with disabilities to seek help for their children…that is the coalition at work,” she stressed.

The coalition, this month, is collaborating with the Ministry of Education in hosting a series of parenting workshops in observance of Parent Month. These workshops will be held in all six education region of the Ministry of Education.

Two of the coalition members organising the sessions are the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) and Parenting Partners Caribbean (PPC).

The NPTAJ, established in 2006, brings together Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in schools across Jamaica, to speak in a collective manner to issues relating to parents. “We also see to what extent parents, as important stakeholders of the education system, can be involved in the transformation of the education process,” explained President of NPTAJ, Everton Hannam.

He said the NPTAJ tries to make an impact on the education system in a meaningful way by working with the parents in the local PTAs. 

“We also sit on representative structures within the Ministry of Education to discuss or to make input into important areas such as the Text Book Committee and Human and Family Life Education Committee, of which other members of the parenting coalition form a significant part,” he informed.

Also, from time to time, the association is asked to provide feedback from parents relating to issues of importance.                      

The PPC, through its ‘Parents’ Place’, is also engaging parents and children in a meaningful way.

Vice President of the group, Janet Brown, explained that the initiative began in 2010 when the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) contracted the PPC to develop a strategy for parents at the early childhood level. 

“They wanted a programmatic strategy. We engaged in consultations with children, with parents and other stakeholders, and what emerged was the concept that we call the ‘Parents’ Place,’ she explained.  

The Parents’ Place, she said, “is a familiar neighbourhood place, which welcomes and supports all parents and families to raise their children well.  This is a universal kind of approach…it is more than a building”. 

The services offered are varied and flexible and can be attached or linked to a wide range of public and private services, such as health clinics, schools, libraries, social service agencies and churches. “In other words it builds on existing effort,” Mrs. Brown stated.  

Any community group, private or public organisation, non-government or faith-based organisation may apply to be designated a ‘Parents’ Place’.  They may send applications to parentsplaceja@gamil.com. Certain criteria must be met before an organisation can be designated a Parents’ Place.