Social Transformation Minister Samantha Marshall has pledged government’s continued support to families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
In a message to mark International Families Day today Marshall said all arounfd the country, families are currently bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, sheltering their members from harm; and using very scarce resources to care for children at home, senior citizens, the unemployed, the differently-abled, and even those who are just about managing.
She noted that, unfortunately, in the current times of uncertainty, stress and anxiety increase among family members. Marshall said, this often results in growing conflicts among members and regrettably, even violence against women and children. In such instances, families and their networks play a crucial role in providing immediate support and relief even before the relevant authorities can intervene.
“As such, families are pivotal to our society as first responders to countless situations that threaten the physical and mental well-being of individuals and other families. The sacrifices of families and the care and support that you provide daily do not go unrecognised. On behalf of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, I would like to thank you, families, across our beloved nation, for helping to keep our homes and communities together during such an unprecedented period in our history,” the minister said.
She told her internatinal Families Day Message that the Government remains committed to utilising all the resources at its disposal to provide the necessary support to families across society. “Our approach in this regard is fashioned and implemented in the context of achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) concerning poverty, health and well-being, education, and gender equality. The Copenhagen Declaration recognised the family as the basic unit of society which plays a crucial role in national development and is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support,” she said.
“The Government of Antigua and Barbuda adopts this view and further recognises that families should be strengthened, with attention given to the rights, capabilities and responsibilities of its members. Within my Ministry, the Family and Social Services Department ensures that all families, children and youth are provided with the necessary social, psychological, and emotional support required by law. This includes the work of the Counselling Department which organises various intervention programmes and initiatives targeting different aspects of childcare and protection, mental health, anti-social behaviour, and more recently, assessments in relation to psycho-educational development and intellectual development. These are done in conjunction with our key stakeholders and civil society organisations. It is at this point that I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the hard-working and diligent staff and management within my Ministry. They ensure that families and communities remain strong and at the heart of our national development,” she added.
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