NATIONAL Parent Teachers Association (NPTA) president Raffiena Ali-Boodoosingh yesterday called on parents to pay extra attention to children during the July/August vacation, especially in light of all the recent deaths of young children.
In an interview with Newsday, Ali-Boodoosingh said children are at a greater risk during the vacation when they are left unsupervised and more mishaps happen to them during this period.
On Wednesday, at a conference on the up-serge in deaths of children held at the Children’s Authority head office in Port of Spain, deputy director of Care Services for the Children’s Authority Rhonda Gregoire-Roopchand said the likelihood of child-related accidents was greater during vacations and urged parents, guardians and the public to take care as they go about their daily routines.
Ali-Boodoosingh said during the vacation children have a lot of idle time on their hands. She said sometimes parents leave their children for siblings to look after, but the bigger sibling might still be a minor.
“What I am suggesting is that we need to invest in our children. As a nation, we need to invest in the safety and well-being of our children, because they are our future population. They are also our future capital. Our country on a whole needs to invest in their safety.
“We have been saying this for years: employers should plan for the July/August vacation period. They should find out from the employees who have children who would be home and they can set up daycare centres in the workplace to accommodate the children.”
Ali-Boodoosingh said there is also a need to have more non-government organisation’s and schools to hold more summer camps for children during the vacation period. She said these camps must engage children meaningfully.
“On the other hand, it is most important for parents to know who are taking care of their children. Parents should always monitor their children.
“Know what they are involved in, know where they are, and please do not leave children in another sibling’s care especially if the sibling is under age. Even if relatives are taking care of your children, you need to find out what is taking place. Ask questions to ensure they are safe.
“This morning I saw a security officer had to take her child to work with her; probably she could not afford a summer camp.”
Ali-Boodoosingh urged corporate TT to invest in children by sponsoring camps they could attend for free.
Asked if she thought children are being lost to crime in TT, Ali-Boodoosingh said, “Of course. We have all types of crimes. A simple thing (such) as domestic violence, it is a crime. Domestic violence leads some of our children to commit suicide. It leads to some of our children being on the streets, going into a life of crime.
“Of course we are losing our children to a life of crime.
“Crime does not only mean children being shot at. A simple thing (such) as domestic violence triggers off different mental problems in children.”
Ali-Boodoosingh said children in these cases lead a life that is not conducive to their safety.”
“We all can see today that many of our teenagers turn to drugs or sell drugs. Why do they go? The parents cannot afford them, the parents are not well-to-do, the children are told they are no good, the father may not be in the home – so they out there to survive on their own.”
Asked if children are at greater risk when they are out of school, Ali-Boodoosingh said, “Once there is no parental supervision. Parental supervision is very important, because you leave teenagers home and don’t know where they are or who they are associating with. You can reach them on the cell phone – and still don’t know where they are or involved in.”
This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.
NATIONAL Parent Teachers Association (NPTA) president Raffiena Ali-Boodoosingh today called on parents to pay extra attention to children during the July/August vacation.
In an interview with Newsday, Ali-Boodoosingh said in light of all the problems taking place with children, they are at a greater risk during the vacation period especially when they are left unsupervised.
Ali-Boodoosingh also said more mishaps happens to children during this period.
Yesterday Deputy Director of Care Services for the Children’s Authority Rhonda Gregoire-Roopchand said the likelihood of child-related accidents were greater during vacation periods and urged parents, guardians and the public to exercise caution as they go about their daily routines.
Ali-Boodoosingh said during the vacation period children have a lot of ideal time on their hands.
“What I am suggesting is that we need to invest in our children. As a nation we need to invest in the safety and well-being of our children because they are our future population. They are also our future capital. Our country on a whole need to invest in their safety."