Brown: Careful considerations needed for proposed women aid

In his bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion for fis­cal 2019-2020, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert pro­posed to in­tro­duce day­care cen­tres to cater for chil­dren un­der three years old.

How­ev­er, women’s ac­tivist Hazel Brown stressed that if in­suf­fi­cient plan­ning is done in­to the qual­i­ty of the child­care pro­vid­ed by this ini­tia­tive, it could pose a threat to the health of the chil­dren.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day, Brown said that “the care of chil­dren un­der five-years-old is the most crit­i­cal area of de­vel­op­ment and re­quires very spe­cial kinds of skills.”

“In­tro­duc­ing these ser­vices with­out en­sur­ing there are peo­ple who have the skills to ad­e­quate­ly take care of the pro­vi­sion of those ser­vices has the po­ten­tial of se­ri­ous­ly dam­ag­ing chil­dren,” she cau­tioned.

She al­so said that these day­cares must be placed in ar­eas that are eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble to sin­gle moth­ers.

“If you pro­vid­ing child­care ser­vices in ar­eas that I can’t reach eas­i­ly by pub­lic trans­port, then I’m no bet­ter off,” she said.

Min­is­ter Im­bert in­di­cat­ed dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion that his in­ten­tion for these day­cares was to “pro­vide child­care ser­vices for fe­male-head­ed house­holds who meet the stip­u­lat­ed cri­te­ria. These day­care cen­tres would be es­tab­lished in com­mu­ni­ties through­out Trinidad and To­ba­go and would pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for women.”

He al­so pro­posed to in­tro­duce shel­ters for home­less fe­males who have been dis­placed due to fam­i­ly con­flict, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, crime and oth­er is­sues. These shel­ters, he said, “will be es­tab­lished by the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion with the sup­port of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty in spe­cif­ic ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions. Per­sons will be as­signed to the shel­ters af­ter a com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment on a 3 to 12-month ba­sis.

“The shel­ter is in­tend­ed to pro­vide tem­po­rary re­lief to women who are home­less.”

Brown com­mend­ed this ini­tia­tive, how­ev­er, she not­ed that “we do have ex­ist­ing shel­ters, many of which are un­der-re­sourced” and sug­gest­ed that “you want to make sure the ones you have are able to pro­vide the ser­vice in an ad­e­quate way.”

Reporter: Rishard Khan


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