This week on `What the people’ say we asked members of the public about the neglect of children by parents and guardians.
Lauristan Choy, Public Sector `It is not right for parents to neglect their children, no matter what the circumstances may be; parents have a religious and societal obligation to protect their children and care for them. Provision of food, clothing and shelter is a basic function of the family. If parents neglect their children then there are severe consequences for both the child and society. Such as delinquent children, who may become negative contributors to society, the child would not be able to understand the nature of having a family, which can have a ripple effect on our future as a people. Additionally I think it is the right of the child care protection officer to take the children away when left neglected. The child care protectors are working under the child protection act, which gives them the constitutional right to act in the best interest of the child. The children are not just children of the parents but also of the state, hence, making sure that they are cared for, protected is imperative. Only recent a baby was found neglected playing with a pair of scissors.’
Phillip Campbell, Pastor `It is a serious crime to neglect your child no matter the circumstances. As a parent you are responsible to take care of your child or children. Children need a lot of attention and supervision especially the ones that are in the age group of one to nine years. At this stage I believe they are very curious about their environment and they would want to explore, so leaving them unsupervised is very dangerous. A child’s life is in danger when they are left alone. You never know what might happen; there might be a fire or sometimes there might be predators waiting to attack the child. When the daily issues are looked upon, negligence is very dangerous. Parents need to take up the responsibility. If a single parent has to work and it is possible they can take the child along they should do that and if it is not alright to take the child along they should have some responsible and trustable adult to look after the child until they return from work. Concerning child care officers, I don’t think they should take away the child on the first occurrence unless the situation is serious. I think parents should also be charged if the action is repeated several times’.
Pt Udit, Businessman, `Negligence in our country is too dominant. The Children are our future and if we neglect them, we would be faced with a serious problem in the long run. We would have a lot of illiterate people too. Parents need to take up their responsibility and get their children off the streets and make sure that their children are in school. Poverty is blamed for negligence and it is a contributing factor but parents need to know that the child was not asking to be born. Hence, the parents should have the attention and love they need and not neglect their child or children. It is good that the childcare officers intervene, but they need to have good programmes to help straighten out the issues parents and children face. I also think that the religious sector needs to start paying attention to this. I believe they can help.’
Miss Joseph, Public Sector `It is ridiculous for these parents to leave their small children home alone for long hours and unattended. Parents like those, who do not have any time with their children should be punished. These children are not mistakes, they are placed for a reason and if their parents do not take interest in them, what will become of them? As parents we need to take up our responsibilities, from the time a mother gets pregnant she should know she has a lot of responsibilities in her hands. Parents need to provide for their children, even if it means to go work in a store. In cases where there is domestic abuse, with the mother being the victim, she should leave but still pay interest in lives of her children. In cases where the father leaves the home, the mother should take him to court and get assistance to maintain their children. As a parent you should know your roles and responsibility.’
Dionne Davis, Private Sector `I see neglect as a form of abuse to the child. It is insane for parents to leave their small children unattended. Some parents don’t care about being a parent. All they care about is having money and partying and as a parent; you should always be able to provide for your child or children and put partying aside. These are your children nobody is going to care your child like you care. People would help yes, but they would not take care of the child like you do. Parents should start acting like parents and take care of their children, because what is happening in today’s society, anything could happen to a child left unattended. Children are inquisitive and they could get into trouble and no one would be around to help. But sometimes some parents overdo it by leaving their child unattended and this is where I think child care officers should take the child and place them in a better home. Some people are not fortunate to have children and the ones who have do not take care of their children. Child care and protection officers should take the children and place them into better homes.’
Rafina William, assistant accountant
‘Parents indeed neglect their responsibilities towards their children. Sometimes both parents indulge in drinking alcohol and having an outgoing life. It is their duty to provide food and other necessities to them and to sit with them to take their books and help with assignments. I find that the majority of the parents do not attend school meetings and conferences. In most cases, they are the parents of children who misbehave and it is important for them to meet with the teachers. Welfare officers should intervene and visit their homes to check on their situation. Education is the moulding for the future. I do not agree with parents giving children phones, especially the smart phones to take to school. Many times the
smaller children are left alone at home late at nights and there is no supervision. We know this is quite dangerous. I believe that by taking the children away, even if temporarily, they would be in better care. If the parents don’t pull themselves together the children should be placed in foster homes.’
Jacklyn Wilson, housewife
‘As a mother, I cannot understand how some mothers can bear a child for nine months and then neglect that child. I think that is wrong. It is the parents’ responsibility to look after their children. When I have to go out I would leave my two children with their father or with an aunt. Single mothers should not even have any excuse for being neglectful. They have to go out of their way to ensure the wellbeing of their children. My mother grew 13 children single-handedly doing domestic work and then she got a job at the health centre. But even so she never left her children unattended. We were always in the care of relatives while she worked. When she became sick we had to live with our father. I think the social workers have every right to take away children who are neglected. They can be returned if the situation improves.’
Steve Robertson, race horse owner
‘When parents bring children into this world they have a responsibility to care for them. If they know they don’t want to care for their children, they shouldn’t make them. But some parents don’t care anything. They just want to party all the time and that is wrong. I call them careless parents. If they don’t care for themselves they can’t care for the children. If parents cannot take care of their children, the Child Care & Protection Agency has a right to take them away and ensure they have a better life. I do not think poverty is an excuse for parents to neglect their children. There are a lot of jobs available. If parents really care for their children there must be some work they can do to take care of them.’
Easho Jitpaul, fisherman
‘In some cases, parents do not really want to neglect the children. But because of poverty they have to go out and seek a job and then sometimes they don’t have anyone who can overlook the children for them. Some parents would leave their children unprotected just to go out and party. There are also cases where the fathers may not have a proper job. They would become frustrated and leave the home and persons may offer them free drink. This would cause problems in the homes become the mothers wouldn’t have anything to feed the children. In other cases, you cannot speak to your children and discipline them. At one time when I disciplined my 14-year-old son, people called the police and I was locked-up.
Now I stopped telling him anything and he has become wayward.’
Charles Mc Donald, labourer
‘It’s happening quite a lot where parents are leaving their children alone at home and they don’t seem to care what happen to them. This is not right because children like to get into mischief. Whether parents leave for work or to party, they should leave the children in the care of an adult. They would be sorry if they return to find that their homes were burnt or the children injured themselves or drowned or something. Parents have to take their responsibilities seriously.
It is only when the social workers take them away that they pull themselves together and protect their children. But there are some who don’t learn and even if the children are taken away, they continue the same behaviour.’