JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Senator Deika Morrison has emphasized that in order to make a significant contribution to the development and welfare of its children, Jamaica needed to invest in families.
“Effective and meaningful children’s interventions are those which encompass the family, with a specific emphasis on the development of the human capital of the parents. Let us examine ways to support and strengthen the family structure. Let us collaborate to achieve a minimum level of education for parents,” she stressed.
The State Minister was speaking today at the launch of the Jamaica Foundation for Children’s Expo 2004, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel.
Senator Morrison said that a bright future for the children could not be separated from the concept of a bright future for families, pointing out that it was not by accident that a child could become a responsible adult, capable of contributing positively to his or her society.
“It is a deliberate process that must be designed and supported and encouraged by all of the stakeholders in society. We must give them the best possible start we can,” she said.
Senator Morrison pointed out that this collaboration and strengthening of family structure was not a novel idea, as already, a number of private sector initiatives had recognized this need. “What I hope to impart today is the need for us to understand the linkages, understand the significant role of families in the development, care and welfare of children, and be dedicated as a nation to this targeted intervention,” she said.
She argued that while the challenges affecting the nation’s children were varied, they were not insurmountable if approached with unity of purpose. “A bright future for our children means that we the society must ensure that children are aware of their rights. We must ensure that their rights are protected, that their needs are met, that they are valued by society, that they know that they are valued, and we must also commit ourselves to listen to what our children are saying,” the State Minister said.
She denounced the practice of sending children out to work, steal, kill, carry guns, and sell drugs. “Abuse of all forms must not be tolerated and I congratulate and thank those who have had the courage to call the authorities on behalf of the children,” she added.
Senator Morrison congratulated the Foundation on its initiative as a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the care and protection of the nation’s children, and specifically to giving children the opportunity to learn, and become aware of the products and services available to them.
“This is an initiative where we can celebrate yet another collaborative event that demonstrates the power of partnership among the public sector, the private sector and civil society,” she said, and implored the stakeholders involved in the expo to continue to “join hands, hearts and pockets to build a protective, supportive and nurturing environment for our children”.
Since its inception in 1991, the Children’s Expo has become a major event on the Child Month calendar. It provides a forum for community based and non-governmental organizations as well as public and private sector companies to inform the public about the services and products that they offer to children and families.
The event is a ‘one stop shop’ for anyone seeking information in areas such as health care, skills training, entertainment, education and plans for the summer holidays.
The Foundation’s services include Friend’s Hotline, a community counselling service, ‘One 2 One’ parenting hotline, and Friends Fact Line.
This year’s expo will be staged from May 14-16 at the National Arena, under the theme: ‘Nurturing Our Children for A Brighter Tomorrow’. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is the headline sponsor. Other sponsors are Tang, HomeworkJamaica.com, Colgate-Palmolive, the Book Industry Association of Jamaica, Anchor Milk, Cable and Wireless Jamaica Foundation, Jamaica International Insurance, Milex Security Services, Moore Business Forms Caribbean Limited, National Housing Trust, Nestle Jamaica Limited, Shirlhome Chemicals, Tastee Eezy Cheese, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCo).

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