The National Parenting Support Commission’s (NPSC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Miss Kaysia Kerr commits to educating and supporting the parents of the nation’s children as written in their mandate.
The mandate of the NPSC as stated by Kerr is to offer proactive and reactive parenting education and support. Proactive education speaks to the reception of knowledge prior to the consideration of conceiving a child whilst reactive education delves into the determinants of effective parenting by offering psychosocial support and education.
In accordance to reactive parenting education, the NPSC visited the community of Line Gate, Westmoreland that was thrust in the limelight due to a video that went viral. In Line Gate, the NPSC began the parent education processes by first administering the NPSC risk assessment tool that identifies parenting modalities. Similar supports are on-going in St. Thomas in the area where the infamous machete incident took place. The parent in question has been immersed in parent education sessions through the NPSC’s established and certified parent club. Said parent has been assigned a mentor for permanent sustained support.
Kerr shared that the NPSC also administers counselling and home visits which are coupled with parental education in order to supply the sustainable support that many parents need. These counselling sessions are offered to parents who are grieving from not only the death of their child but also the removal of children from the home.
Presently, there are parent mentors island-wide that have been trained by the NPSC to offer support in their communities to help ensure that effective parenting practices are being encouraged and employed. Parent Places have also been erected across the island – these are spaces where parents may go to receive parent education, de-stress and foster education through play with their children, especially through the early childhood years.
The NPSC will be establishing more parent places in the country beginning with one in Mt. Salem to offer support to the parents who live in the first declared ZOSO. This will be sustained by the parent mentorship programme. Forty parents across St. James have consented to 10 modules of training in effective parenting. Targeted interventions are being crafted for western Jamaica. To that end a stakeholder meeting will be held on Sunday, February 18, 2018 to explain to residents what the interventions entail based on data from our risk assessment. Another series of workshops preclude those and will be hosted this Saturday, February 17, 2018 in Hopewell, Hanover.
Kerr stated that the NPSC also offers programmes to parents which are used to assist both themselves and their children in an effort to empower both parties. Such programmes include the “Stay Connected” which is aimed at parents of adolescents, helping them with supporting and advising their transitioning youth into adulthood.
The NPSC is also a regulatory body that streamlines and coordinates the parenting programs in Jamaica. The National Parent Sector, a non-government organization, which also provides education to parents is being encouraged by the NPSC to submit parent programs to be assessed for accreditation to ensure that parents are receiving the best support and education services based on set standards.
Currently, the ‘Parenting Responsibility and Rights Act’ is being written by the NPSC which will seek to portray definitively the rights of parents to enact their responsibilities as outlined in the ‘Child Care and Protection Act’. It will speak to holding parents accountable for carrying out their responsibilities to the child’s best interest.
The NPSC is steadfast in ensuring that Jamaica’s parents are afforded the opportunity to know their responsibilities as a parent and to be afforded the necessary education to be able to carry out these responsibilities.