National Children’s Policy launched, includes tackling poverty and social media addiction
The National Children’s Policy was launched yesterday by Minister for Family and Social Solidarity Michael Farrugia. The policy is aimed to extend until the year 2024 and will fall directly under the ministry. A detailed overview of the policy will be launched after its conclusion.
Speaking at the launch held yesterday, Minister Farrugia emphasised on the importance of education and further investment in our children to eradicate poverty completely. He said the need to update Malta’s children policy can only function if the Maltese families are stronger and if more help is provided for parents on how to better raise their children. Dr Farrugia announced that as part of the launch of this policy, the government will have social mentors to help particular families which were identified as in need of help with the ultimate aim is to get them out of poverty.
A document regarding Positive Parenting Policy will also be launched soon.
The Policy sets out a number of goals which should be achieved by the end of 2024. Primarily, the list includes the setting up of information centre on children’s upbringing, enhance curative and screening sources and to tackle children’s obesity. Addiction to social media will also be addressed.
The document also proposes the updating of age-appropriate sexual education apart from further education on prevention of alcohol, drug use and smoking.
“We are also committed on narrowing the gap of the digital divide,” he added. He said the ministry analysed the Caritas Malta report and will be taking action accordingly. Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli addressed the launch and said that the process to establish such a policy started 25 years ago, when Malta ratified the UN resolution on Child Policy. She called on all those who are responsible in creating policy and legislation to include the children’s need. “Those who create laws should always keep in mind the needs of our children. Even if the new initiative has nothing to do with children, a legislator must think of the children’s future.”
Before concluding, Mrs Miceli commented that her office has no legal strength, and it might be the time to amend that.
The report provides a snapshot on the demographic situation in Malta. It explains how the total fertility rate in Malta has experienced a decline in the past decade, from 3.6 in the 1960s to 1.4 in 2012. The population of children fell by nearly 10,000 between 2006 and 2013.
The National Children’s Policy is also made available online and a ‘child-friendly version’ will also be set up.
Michael Farrugia Photo: Jonathan Borg