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The National Parenting Commission, which aims to assist parents in carrying out their roles and responsibilities, is to be chaired by Lady Rheima Hall, wife of former Governor-General, His Excellency Professor Sir Kenneth Hall.

The Parenting Commission also aims at providing support for parents by increasing their access to quality information and services as outlined in the National Parenting Policy.

Making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 15, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, also informed that the noted Public Health Specialist, Dr. Patrice Charles Freeman, has been appointed Executive Director of the Commission.

In the meantime, he said money is in the budget, courtesy of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to establish 160 Parent Places across the island this year to educate parents in best practices.

“We look forward to partnering with a range of parenting initiatives already being undertaken, offering parents support, connection with social services, counselling about behavioural problems, mentoring, and financial assistance,” he said.

On another matter, the Minister said it is a clear policy of the administration that  school officials should not shun or scorn pregnant school girls, but to reintegrate them in the original or another school, so as to continue their education.

“Connect them to the Women Centres, to assist them with their added responsibilities, to insist that baby fathers mind their children, and if underage, to assist the Police in prosecuting carnal abusers. This is a call to action,” Rev. Thwaites said.

CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON