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Gypsy: Child neglect a major problem

By Sue-Ann Wayow

CHILD neglect is a major issue, Community Development Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters has said.
He suggested that because some parents were not physically abusing their children, they think they are taking good care of them. But if the parent failed to give a child the proper health care and emotional support, the fundamental needs of the child were being neglected, he added
Peters was speaking at the launch of the Mediation Parenting Support Workshop last week, at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce Building, Camden Road, Couva.
The minister said: “In communities across Trinidad and Tobago, hundreds even thousands of children, do not lose their lives in violent circumstances, but they nevertheless live in fear and anxiety because of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect by parents and close relatives.”
“Many of us think that as long as we are not physically damaging our children, we are not guilty of child abuse. But one major aspect of abuse is neglect. Neglect is when parents or guardians fail to meet a child’s need for physical health care, nutrition, emotional nurturing and adequate supervision. Child neglect has accounted for the disintegration of family structures and by extension, communities in our country,” Peters said.
Referring to Dr Selwyn Ryan’s report entitled “No Time to Quit-Engaging Youth at Risk” Peters said the report “strongly admonished parents and guardians to reconsider their approaches to child-rearing.”
The report explained that children were often shifted between multiple guardians, that practice was often a significant contributor to aggressive and anti-social behaviour.
Through the Community Mediation Prog-ramme, Peters said men and women in over 11 communities will serve as child advocates and “protectors across the country against child abuse and neglect”.
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