Child Rights Alliance (CRA) member ChildLinK continued the advocacy efforts of the CRA by organizing a live panel discussion focusing on the child neglect in Guyana report on GWTV channel 2 on October, 24, 2017. The members of the panel were: Ms. Sherri Ann Vandeyar (Senior Probation and Child Protection Officer, Childcare and Protection Agency; Hasani Tinnie (Communications Officer, CRA); and Gillian Vyphuis (Senior School Welfare Officer, School Welfare Department).
The panel explained that while child neglect is the consistent failure of the caregiver to meet the child’s basic needs, it is only considered (wilful) child neglect if the caregiver has the means to provide the child’s needs but wilfully neglects to do so. This is where the community needs to get involved. Neighbours should lend a helping hand when they can because some parents only need support. However, neighbours should report known cases of wilful child neglect and other forms of abuse.
The panellists also expressed the importance of parenting skills education. There are times when there is a disconnect between parent and child which may present the opportunity for one or more forms of abuse. The parenting skills education sessions, offered by the CRA and CPA, equips the parents with knowledge and skills which may help to strengthen the parent and child relationship.
Child neglect continues to be the most prevalent form of child abuse in Guyana. Fifty percent of the child abuse cases reported to the CPA between 2013 to 2016 involved some aspect of child neglect.