JIS News

Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke is urging parents who migrate to maintain contact with their children back home. “Research at the University of the West Indies has found a range of emotional and behavioural problems in children left behind, especially by their mothers,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Clarke was delivering the keynote address at the Rotary Club of Kingston’s weekly luncheon meeting, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on August 31.
These children, she noted, “are most likely to exhibit deviant behaviour, withdrawal syndrome, depressive reactions, defensive and run away behaviour, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and juvenile delinquency”.
“If we teach these parents and let them become aware of the possible impact of separation, I am confident that they would try to do something about it. Some, I am sure, would think twice before migrating, while others would know how to make adequate arrangements for the care of their child or children,” she maintained.
According to Mrs. Clarke, some 25 per cent of fathers and 17 per cent of mothers who separate from their children did not maintain contact.
“Some of our most problematic youths in society today could have been saved if we had taken the time to educate their parents and inform them about the impact of separation on children,” she said.
“While I was a social worker, I had seen the difference between the child who had at least a photograph of his or her mother or father to look at and identify with, as against the child who never knew either parent,” she pointed out, adding that children needed parents who were supportive and who were able to provide a protective environment.
Mrs. Clarke, who focused her presentation on the importance of investing in parenting and the strengthening of families, called for the implementation of an extensive campaign on proper parenting and the building of families in order to improve the situation of children in Jamaica.
The campaign, she explained, would have to be implemented through a number of collaborative efforts and networking and should help to teach parents how to nurture, love and care for their children during the formative years of their lives.