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Statia may be a small island, but it is rich in potential. Dirkje de Jong and Monica Smith represent Statia in the Kingdom Taskforce for Children’s Rights. Monica joined last year in May and spoke to us about developing a Parenting Information Center, which will have information on everything from prenatal-family planning to preparing adolescents for leaving home and going abroad to study. The Center will serve as a consultation office where parents can walk in for advice on their child’s development and will also be able to join parenting workshops and training.


In 2020, Monica identified and contacted children’s rights stakeholders and made note of all the places on the island where children spend time. These were done to understand stakeholders’ ongoing projects and challenges as well as where the Taskforce might need to implement intervention programs for children. The Taskforce also conducted a sample survey on parents' experiences with distance learning during the lockdown. This resulted in valuable recommendations for the Ministry, local government organizations and schools.


The Taskforce’s priorities for 2021 include conducting more workshops and training and promoting more information-based interventions. They will also work on an early identification structure for children with special needs. Monica noted that “early family support is essential and should be easily accessible for all parents.”

To promote the Parenting Information Center in the community, the Taskforce has created information folders and flyers and has been giving presentations on the prevention tasks of the public entity, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the new pedagogical advisor to parents in daycares, schools, and afterschool programs.

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