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Roving Caregivers reaching out more

Roving Caregivers reaching out more


The Roving Caregivers (RCP) is strengthening its outreach programme.

The programme, which is supported by the Netherlands-based Bernard van Leer Foundation and managed by the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration’s (CARICAD) Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI), recently launched a new curriculum that is intended to make the delivery of the programme less directive and more interactive.{{more}}

Twenty-six coordinators and supervisors from the six RCP territories gathered here recently for a one-week training seminar on the use of the newly developed curriculum.

The new curriculum was developed by the non-profit research, development, training and public outreach organization, Highscope Educational Research Foundation of Michigan, USA.

The RCP curriculum was first published in 2003 by the Rural Family Support Organization (RuFamSo) in Jamaica for the RCP, but the new one is expected to reflect a stronger emphasis on parent-child interaction in the delivery of the home visits by the rovers.

In St Vincent, about 300 children and their parents are being touched by the RCP in communities like Sandy Bay, Overland, Byera, Chester Cottage and Barrouallie.

Some 19 caregivers are currently attached to the local programme, while many more have passed through.

Local coordinator Judith Hull-Ballah told SEARCHLIGHT that she is pleased with work the local RCP has been doing with regard to the interaction and stimulation of children from birth to three years old and the training of their parents – often young and unprepared, to reach and help in the development of their children.

She however stressed that while programmes like the RCP are here to assist with the development of children in these targeted disadvantaged families, sex education efforts must continue society-wide to cut down on the instances of young, unprepared, and often unemployed people becoming parents.

Hull-Ballah told SEAERCHLIGHT that no effort can be spared by society in getting young people to make proper decisions concerning sex-so that the cycle of poverty can be broken.

The RCP was started in Jamaica about 10 years ago and has expanded to a total of six countries: Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Belize and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking at the cocktail reception held at the Prime Minister’s official residence to signal the beginning of the training seminar and to present the new curriculum to the government, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Mobilization, Social Development and Family Affairs, Rosita Snagg, said that the work of the RCP is crucial to the development of the children that the programme impacts.

Snagg touted government’s plan to have universal pre-school education by 2011 and said that programmes like the RCP that helps with the stimulating of the child from birth to pre-school age augers well for the children’s future development and success in life.

Meanwhile Susan Branker-Lashley of the CCSI said that over the lifetime of the 10-year-old programme, since its beginning in Jamaica, the RCP has done a world of good, but had several deficiencies.

These deficiencies, she said, have been addressed in the curriculum. She however said that she hopes that the curriculum will not become static, but will continue to be developed and shaped into a more effective programme.(KJ)