WHENEVER you see someone begging with a child, think about the impact on the child’s development. Children learn what they live and where an adult or mother uses a child to evoke sympathy from passers-by, the child is at risk. Adults put children in vulnerable situations by exposing their desperation to the public. And those who give donations are not helping but enabling the problem to continue.
People who beg at regular spots do so because they are assured an income. Familiar faces give what they do and new faces, when they see the child, take pity and dig deep to donate or buy drink or food for person or child. Some people give to ease their conscience. They are relatively well off, so they hand over 20 dollars, and some give because they believe the beggar has fallen on hard times and needs financial assistance.
Though the latter may be true, there is no guarantee that the guardian would use the ill-earned bounty to enhance the child’s well-being, living standards or education. The child is a victim of the parent’s negativity. The role of the public is to protect the child, not to sustain his guardian’s lifestyle, which could be one of substance abuse or alcoholism. Domestic violence, poverty, and mental health issues are other reasons adults resort to begging, but nothing can justify children’s use in this scenario.
When children are given a negative start in life, it is harder to learn positive and meaningful skills as they grow. They perceive the adverse way of life to be just and natural, but it is learnt behaviour from the folks around them and children do not know better.
The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has a Children and Family Centre where vulnerable parents or children are assessed, assisted and supported to seek a better life. The centre was created for those in need to benefit from this service. The public should direct adults who beg with children to seek viable assistance from this entity instead of using the short term solution of begging.
There is a chance that beggars could change their lives, and the child receives some needed care and attention. The CPA hotline is available 24 hours and will give relevant information on the centre to anyone who needs help.
Some adults are intellectually disabled. They have inadequate mental and communication skills, and yet they function in society and get by relatively well. At some point, a person may comment on them and say, ‘Wait! That man head good?’ or ‘Like you head bore or something?’ due to the person’s choices and way of thinking.
Parents who are intellectually disabled do not make good choices for their children. They lack the mental capacity to understand the needs of a child. They cannot create positive experiences or a memorable childhood as their mental state negatively affects their parenting skills. Due to strain, tension or anxiety, they may end up putting their children at risk by neglecting, physically abusing them or impoverishment. Using a child as a prop for begging is a pretty good example.
Children should be loved and cherished by parents, not used as a means to an end.
The CPA works to keep families together – it works tirelessly to teach parenting skills and keep children off the streets. Some stories are more successful than others.
A pregnant mother became a regular in the marketplace with her two small children. She was known to the traders who saw her sleeping rough each night in a shop doorway.
The CPA located the woman and took her children into care. Child protection officers investigated her circumstances, and it transpired that she had two older children staying with family members. Although she was allowed to visit and contact her children, she seldom did. Officers, however, were still hopeful for a reunion between mother and children. Sometime later, a small home was made available for the family.
The mother, who half-heartedly attended parenting skills classes, moved into the property awaiting the return of her children. Reports were written and signed; officers filed completed documents, and the children were officially allowed to go to their new home to live with their mother. It must have felt like a dream come true and a new chapter in their young lives for the children. However, it wasn’t long before the mother neglected them and was back on the streets.
When the CPA located her, she had no apology; this is the life she’s accustomed to; she needs to be on the streets. The case had to be revisited and revived.
Some people have children but no clue how to raise them in a conducive environment. Regardless of social standing, parents can seek an appropriate setting, using as much or as little as a person has available.
While some parents can learn from trial and error, others do not understand what children need or how they should be treated. If you see an abused, vulnerable or neglected child, do the child a favour and make a report to the CPA. Officers will investigate and take steps in the child’s best interest. Make children your concern.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, call the CPA hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at email@example.com
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDCARE AND PROTECTION AGENCY,
MINISTRY OF HUMAN SERVICES AND SOCIAL SECURITY