Na­tional Chil­dren’s Pol­icy launched, in­cludes tack­ling poverty and so­cial me­dia addiction

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Gabriel Schem­bri

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

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