Strug­gling mother begs Gov’t to take her chil­dren

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE - SHANICE WAT­SON STAR Writer

A52-year-old busi­ness­woman says she has hit rock-bot­tom and is beg­ging the State to take her 14-year-old daugh­ter and 16-yearold son from her.

She said she can no longer feed or school them prop­erly, and their fa­ther has re­fused to pay child sup­port.

“I am do­ing this with a heavy heart, but I have no other op­tion. I have been tak­ing the fa­ther to court since 2011, when my boy passed for high school. The judge said the fa­ther should cover half of all their ex­penses, but noth­ing came from it,” Carol Brown* told THE WEEK­END STAR.

Both chil­dren, who now at­tend tra­di­tional high schools in Kingston, said they are aware of their mother’s wishes, but are not both­ered by them.

“A just the kind of life­style wah we grow up inna, so it no faze we. We been strug­gling for a while now, so we kinda ad­just to it. Any­thing come we way, we just deal with it,” said the fifth-form boy, who passed his Caribbean Ex­am­i­na­tions Coun­cil math­e­mat­ics exam last year.

STRUG­GLING MOTHER

The boy had earned a place at a pres­ti­gious ru­ral area in­sti­tu­tion af­ter his Grade Six Achieve­ment Test (GSAT), but was up­rooted and brought to the Cor­po­rate Area by his strug­gling mother.

His sis­ter, a third for­mer at a Kingston high school, started out at a cel­e­brated se­condary in­sti­tu­tion in the ru­ral area. She said her mother is to be blamed for their cir­cum­stances.

“You have peo­ple worse than we. They come to­gether and sort out their is­sues, but she just get up and cuss, so me no care right about now. I just want to get away from her,” the young girl said.

She told THE WEEK­END STAR that they of­ten go hun­gry and at­tend school with­out lunch money or bus fare be­cause their mother does not have a sta­ble job.

SOLE PER­SON

Brown ex­plained that she sep­a­rated from the chil­dren’s fa­ther five years ago, and has been the sole per­son sup­port­ing them since then.

Brown said she op­er­ates a stor­age busi­ness which sees her stor­ing goods and fur­ni­ture for per­sons. How­ever, the busi­ness took a ma­jor hit and is yet to bounce back.

“Thieves broke into the place once in 2008 and two times in 2009. They took a lot of things, and I had to com­pen­sate my cus­tomers over $600,000.”

She said her son re­cently de­vel­oped a med­i­cal con­di­tion, which re­quires him to visit the hospi­tal daily for treat­ment.

“I have gone to the courts about 30 times over the years try­ing to get as­sis­tance from their fa­ther... . I can’t man­age any­more. I want the Child De­vel­op­ment Agency (CDA) to take them,” the mother said.

The CDA told THE WEEK­END STAR yes­ter­day that it will con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Brown’s case, but noted that tak­ing chil­dren from their fam­i­lies is not its pre­ferred ap­proach in such cir­cum­stances.

SIM­I­LAR SIT­U­A­TION

“We would not want to take away the chil­dren from her be­cause we have been pro­mot­ing that fam­ily is the best place for chil­dren. We will see how best we can come to some so­lu­tion to see how we can as­sist to en­sure that the needs of the chil­dren are met,” the CDA’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager, Rochelle Dixon, said.

Dixon added that per­sons who find them­selves in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion should seek help.

“You have a mem­ber of par­lia­ment, you have a church fam­ily, you have fam­ily mem­bers that you can reach out to, and they might be able to help. The CDA is also here to pro­vide the coun­selling and sup­port, but we re­ally do not want to see a break­down in the fam­i­lies.”

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