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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

Breakdown of family a plague on society
published: Tuesday April 11, 2006

CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE, Mary Clarke, says the level of violence plaguing the nation's schools, is the result of a breakdown of family life.

According to her, it is in the family that children learn their first conflict resolution skills but the anchor of the family has shifted.

"I am concerned about the level of violence in our schools with teachers, children, community members not only being victims but also the perpetrators (and) witnesses of violent act," Mrs. Clarke said yesterday. She was speaking during the launch of Child Month which will be observed in May.

Mrs. Clarke urged parents to be careful in the way they discipline children because it can affect how they relate to others.

"Children learn from how we discipline them. We have to rethink our method of disciplining our children at home and at school. We can no longer sit back and use our old method of discipline when we see what is happening in our society today," she told the gathering at GraceKennedy's Harbour Street, downtown Kingston offices.


And Dr. Pauline Mullings, chairperson for the National Child Month Committee, said that today's children have lost their values because the family and homes have been destroyed. She attributed this to industrialisation and globalisation, which she said encourage migration, among other things.

In her remarks, Allison Anderson, chief executive officer of the Child Development Agency (CDA), said that in order to restore hope in the family, the society must engage the family as a partner. This, she said, could be achieved through the formulation of a coherent public family policy with the underlying goal of empowering the family.

At least 21 children have been killed since the start of the year and Douglas Orane, patron of Child Month, said the violent acts that are being meted out against children demonstrate that the country is in trouble. Mr. Orane is also chairman and CEO of Grace Kennedy.

Yesterday's launch was dominated by the participation of children. Grace Kennedy has sponsored Child Month for many years and Cable and Wireless has come on board and has pledged $1 million to assist with the funding of activities for the month.

Child Month will be observed under the theme, 'Restore The Family-Save Our Children'.

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