Education Ministry's agency launches parental support helplines
The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), an agency of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Victoria Mutual Foundation (VMBS Foundation) and Fight for Peace, has launched 36 helplines to offer much-needed psychosocial care to parents across Jamaica.
The helplines, which became operational on Monday, April 6, have been established - two per parish - with the exception of Kingston, St James, St Ann, St Catherine and Clarendon, which have been given additional helplines. These parishes have recorded a higher numbers of confirmed coronavirus (COVID 19) cases.
In the case of Clarendon, sections of that parish remain under quarantine.
The initiative was launched against the background of the NPSC’s implementation of the National Parenting Support Policy aimed at ensuring continuous parental involvement throughout the education sector. This is being done through a suite of co-ordinated support and public-private partnerships.
With the closure of schools, many parents have cited challenges in helping out with homeschooling.
Other parents initially reported concerns about providing food for their children who are a part of the Government’s social protection programmes in which the children were provided with breakfast and lunch at school.
The Education Ministry has since arranged for monetary provisions to be made for the meals to students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The persons operating the helplines are expected to help guide callers to where and how they may get additional help, and what they can do as individuals.