“Grandparents build strong families; strong families build strong communities; strong communities will create a better Trinidad and Tobago.”
This was the essence of the official launch of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services’ Grand Parenting Programme held on Friday, 13 August 2021 at the Ministry’s Head Office, 39-43 St. Vincent, Port of Spain.
The Grand Parenting Programme was established to provide support to grandparents raising their grandchildren in parent-absent homes. Under this new programme, grandparents will access training specifically designed for the specific needs of grandparents, counselling services, and access to support groups.
Delivering the feature address, Minister Donna Cox stated that the Ministry recognises that grandparents play a leading role in the upbringing of their grandchildren.
According to Minister Cox – “Many grandparents have willingly shouldered this responsibility, taking on the task of supervising remote learning, providing care and protection, including emotional support for children. We at the Ministry, and in particular, the Division of Ageing and National Family Services Division (NFSD), recognizing the tremendous importance of grandparents, and the fundamental role they still play in the development of the family unit, have designed this grand parenting programme to support grandparents in these critical times, and to ensure that the library of wisdom they possess is not lost to future generations.”
Minister Cox also encouraged grandparents who are raising grandchildren to take advantage of and participate in the upcoming Grand Parenting Workshops hosted by the NFSD. She noted that “While grandparents have always been included and encouraged to participate in the Parenting Workshops, this year for the first time, emphasis will be placed on the role of Grandparents under the Parenting Programme. It is envisaged, that this workshop, will help to support and equip grandparents with the necessary knowledge and skills, to make responsible decisions regarding the safety and well-being of grandchildren and other children under their care.” said Minister Cox.
Providing context to the Programme, Permanent Secretary Jacqueline Johnson said that every effort must be made to have children remain with their families. According to PS Johnson – “Grandparent parenting face unique challenges. We must therefore ensure that grandparents are provided with information, resources and support needed as they assume the responsibility for the care and protection of their grandchildren.”
Ms Susan Mungalsingh and Ms. Julia Baptiste both grandmothers of children who live with them, both lauded the Minister for this initiative and thanked the Ministry for placing grandparents on the front burner.
The Ministry’s Parenting Workshop is scheduled to begin on August 16th, 2021 with the Grand Parenting segment expected to commence in October 2021. Interested persons may call the Ministry’s National Family Services Division at 623-2608, ext.: 6705 or 6704 or visit www.social.gov.tt for further information.