Holness says Parenting Commission Awaiting Policy Direction


Legislation to create the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) has been drafted, and is awaiting the finalisation policy direction.
Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, made the disclosure at Tuesday’s (July 22) Post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
“The law will give it a legal personality, but it has to have policy direction. I don’t want to go forward with the law without going parallel with the policy,” Mr. Holness said.
“Parenting is an inherently private endeavour, and you have to be very careful when you start to enter the private domain to regulate such a private function of a family. So, we are being very cautious with the policy that we finally put to the nation,” he explained.
Mr. Holness said there will be some important changes in Government policy relating to parenting, but the Government must be sure that this is the direction in which it wants to go.
“One of them (policy) relates to the responsibility of the parent for the education of their children, and the question is: should the parent be held legally accountable for the attendance of the child at school, the completion of school and for the literacy of the child in school?” the Minister questioned.
“That is something that we have to thoroughly contemplate, as to how you could introduce that into law. I don’t know of many jurisdictions that have that kind of approach to the situation, so we are giving it a great deal of thought. You will be seeing a policy that will be groundbreaking in many respects,” he added.
Mr. Holness said, however, that the mood of the population is that the country is now at a stage where accountability in parenting is critical.
A little over one year ago, Cabinet approved the implementation of a National Parenting Support Commission. The Commission is to spearhead the implementation of the National Parenting Policy, which is currently being developed through the Early Childhood Commission.
The NPSC is expected to ensure that proper parenting practices are adhered to, which would aid in the development of children in terms of addressing behavioural patterns and educational attainment.
The NPSC also aims to elevate the importance of parenting in the national psyche, to ensure that parents understand the importance of their roles in national development by how their children are brought up.
Another function of the NPSC is to provide support in terms of information and other forms of support.
The Commission is intended to assist existing institutions that provide support for parents, with additional support from the Government.

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