APRIL 2015: ‘Not me’ I told Patsy, ‘You can go ahead, but I’m not going, and no one can make me. She hustling to take in everything those people say but not me. I already raise two children with my wife, and now I have baby Rosie with Patsy; Rosie is not my first child.
If Patsy listened to me, we would have never been in this predicament. She always quarrelling, fighting and aggravating me. Before she look after Rosie, she foot and foot behind me. Yes, I like my drink with the boys, but she steady on my back. ‘Where you deh? When you reaching home?’ And when she drink, and I drink, is pure lick down and butt up?
Neighbours say, ‘Alya neglecting that child’ and ‘When alya gan done with this stupidness…that child suffering’. But not my Rosie, I made sure she was alright. I buy milk, pampers, and play with she; and when I home I give she plenty love. It’s Patsy sister with she nosey self, start this thing. Imagine, she come to my home and say we overlooking baby Rosie, and if we don’t do better, she gan tell the welfare people.
That was the start. Next, she come to visit, and find Rosie alone, crying, hungry, with no pampers, and before she try to help the child, she took it upon herself to call the Childcare place. When me and Patsy reach home now, no Rosie. Next, you hear, baby in the care of a Foster Parent and we have to be interviewed. In-ter-viewed, I tell you, by the Childcare and Protection Agency for neglect, and we could even be prosecuted.
Well, I now reach where I going. The thought of my baby girl in care made water come to me eyes. I sit through the interview and listen good to everything that was said. Me and Patsy was wrong to leave Rosie alone; it’s a criminal offence, etc. When I think everything done and we going to get we child, is then they gan turn and tell we about investigation, and review of the situation, visitation to see Rosie and suh.
That was over two months ago, and now Patsy come telling me a set of stupidness about Parenting classes. I’m not going. What they gan teach me? I’s a big man.
MAY 2015: When I answer my phone at work, is who you think calling me? The Childcare place. The officer say both of we MUST attend the parenting classes every week as part of our training to get Rosie back. Well, I’s a man can swallow my pride when I have to and would do anything for my daughter. So is me, Patsy and them this Saturday – oh, and other parents too.
JUNE 2015: Well, it turns out it wasn’t a class at all, it’s a parenting ‘Programme’, and I like the way we pass the time. When I first went there, I was set for them. I was waiting to hear just one thing I didn’t like, and you would a’ hear story. But they really surprised me. The presenter asked all a’ we questions, and we gave honest answers. Everybody joined in; it was good hearing how we all make mistakes due to our upbringing and life experience.
I never thought about why I drink so much or even if I need to drink at all, but certain things I talk about at the session make me look into my childhood and my family life and experiences. I now see how I reach this stage.
One lady in the group, she husband, left she and she start taking it out ‘pon the child. When she tell her story, same way, she was beaten as a child – and she don’t even know who is she father.
At the end of that first day, I asked myself this question; what do I want for me, Patsy and Rosie? On the sixth and final session, we went through the rights of the child. I quote from the leaflet they give we, ‘all children have a right to a standard of living that meets their physical and mental needs’. That’s what me and Patsy should a been doing for Rosie. Instead, she bothering with me and I bothering with she and Rosie suffering.
I grow in a community where men drink every day, so I did the same. It cost me my first marriage and nearly cost me, Patsy and Rosie. The parenting programme show me the truth; when we big people fall short through ignorance or mental or emotional problems – our children suffer. If I want a loving family, I’m the one who has to set the example. I’m the one who has to make it happen. I’m so glad I attended the parenting sessions.
As well as working through things with Patsy, when Rosie come home, we will focus on ‘Rosie’ and give she the best upbringing. That is my vow and Patsy’s too.
Parenting programme sessions were held in various regions last year and were highly attended and appreciated by parents. Due to COVID-19, these sessions have been downsized in keeping with physical distancing and other precautionary measures. Some sessions are conducted virtually, and some in the hinterland are held in open spaces.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, call the CPA hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDCARE AND PROTECTION AGENCY,
MINISTRY OF HUMAN SERVICES AND SOCIAL SECURITY