Parents encouraged to love children in hard times

| 27/04/2010

(CNS): The Minister for Community Affairs has noted that times are currently particularly challenging for parents as a result of the economic problems and rising crime in the community. As a result he said that this year’s Child month will be focusing on parenting in hard times. The ministry in conjunction with the Department of Children and Family Services is currently preparing for the month’s activities which will be organised around the theme of ‘Loving our Children through Today’s Challenges.’  Director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Deanna Look Loy also said the department will be raising awareness about the need for foster parents.

Mike Adam said that loving, encouraging and supporting children in tough times was of paramount importance. “Child Month has taken on even more significance and meaning as today, in our fast-paced lives, we struggle to strike a healthy balance between the demands of work and the responsibilities of parenthood. At the same time, the society is trying to cope with growing financial pressures, increasing levels of crime and concerns about safety,” he said.
Look Loy explained that Child Month 2010 will focus on raising awareness and educating families about how to cope. “Many parents, for example, are facing economic pressure right now and may have to make some hard financial decisions which could impact their ability to care for their children. However, the message we want to send to families during Child Month is that you can maintain quality care for your children despite the challenges,” she said.
 With the assistance of partnering agencies and supported by experts from the Health Services Authority, the DCFS said it will host a number of activities geared towards assisting parents with meeting their children’s nutritional, health, safety and leisure needs.  Look Loy also spoke about the need to encourage people to get involved with the foster care programme, by providing their contact information to the DCFS and listing themselves as potential foster parents. “An important part of loving our children through the challenges is recognising when families are not coping with the pressures of life and require an intervention in the best interests of the child. We therefore, ask persons to consider reaching out to a child in need of love and support through the fostercare programme,” she added.
Cassandra Parchment said the activities committee has developed events to educate and highlight children and acknowledge the roles of parents and care-givers. There will be an exemplary community member award to someone who has volunteered their time for the betterment of children during the annual Child Month Church Service to be held on Sunday, 2 May at the Savannah United Church.  Also the week of the young child, normally scheduled for the last week of April, has been incorporated into Child Month activities. “The Week of the Young Child will now officially begin on Sunday 23 May at the Bodden Town Webster Memorial Church,” she said.
Another new event is the Child Month Youth Fest  a talent showcase for young people under 18 or attending high school locally.  “This will be an exciting showcase featuring song and dance competitions as well as a battle of the bands. It will be held on Saturday, 28 May at the Lion’s Centre,” Parchment said adding that popular children’s events such as district fun days and the annual fundraising Child Month Walk-Run, will also take place from Saturday, 22 May at Pedro St. James. Also back this year will be Board Games Night on Thursday, 6 May at Books by the Bay,Grand Harbour and the Pyjama Party scheduled for Camana Bay on Monday, 24 May. For a complete list of Child Month and Week of the Young Child events, locations and times, visit
Meanwhile the Family Resource Centre (FRC) says it has just finished the first series of the Family Skills Training Programme. This 8-week programme focuses on developing the skills necessary to run a better functioning family unit, such as communication, discipline, home management, self-esteem, and goal-setting.  
Six families that are part of the CAYS Foundation participated in the first series. The families met once a week for an interactive workshop with games, information and group work that focused on creating healthier interaction and improving as a family. 
The WRC said the programme motivated families’ punctuality and participation by having them compete on a point system. The FRC said it was grateful to all the community sponsors that enhance the programme and help make it a success. Boatswain’s Beach, Decker’s Mini Golf, Red Sail, the Ritz, Books & Books and Hollywood Movie Theatres have become programme partners and will contribute to the celebratory packs at every session. 
The second Family Skills Training Programme begins on 29 April 2010 and will also be composed of CAYS Foundation families. However, on 24 June the third session, which is open to the public, starts.  
Families interested in participating or businesses become a corporate sponsor can contact the Family Resource Centre at 949-0006.
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