A Bill to establish the National Parenting Support Commission was passed by the House of Representatives on September 25.
Under the National Parenting Support Commission Act 2012, members of the Commission will have the responsibility of overseeing the implementation and operation of the National Parenting Policy.
The policy defines effective parenting from a Jamaican perspective and sets out the Government's approach to supporting and strengthening positive parenting practices.
This policy is also expected to facilitate the development of an enabling environment in schools and communities, in which to improve parenting practices.
In his contribution to the debate, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, noted that the Bill is a step in the right direction.
"Is it possible for this Commission to implement what I call a fee-for-effort programme? I know even within my own constituency that some schools have collected less than 30 per cent of the auxiliary fees. At the same time, these schools have many jobs that need to be done and that calls for labour cost," Mr. Crawford said.
"Is it at all possible that parents who are incapable of (paying) fees could actually contribute effort to the fixing of problems within these schools? This Commission could be appropriate to organise and align the skills necessary with the projects that are needed, so that parents can contribute, even by barter, to their children’s education,” he added.
The State Minister further suggested the possibility of having a cadre of volunteers as parenting mentors, so that persons can know where to find information and to seek information on best practices regarding parenting.
"It is in my mind that once some of these things are implemented…we will be able to see the movement of more of our children from a state of natural dependence to a state of cultivated and achieved independence," Mr. Crawford said.
Closing the debate, Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, thanked the Members of Parliament for their contribution.
He also informed that funds are in place to begin the implementation of the programme for the 2012/13 fiscal year.
"The Ministry of Education does have funds budgeted for this year that can begin the implementation of the National Parenting Commission, and the advertisements for the appropriate officers and the requirements will be done in short order," Rev. Thwaites said.
The Bill was passed without any amendments and will be sent to the Senate for its approval.