ST. JOHN’S — Principal Probation Officer in the Ministry of Social Transformation Aletha Byers wants government to hold parents accountable for delinquent youth. And she is calling for the enactment of legislation to do just that.
The probation officer said the state is doing all in its power to assist youth, who would have found themselves on the wrong side of the law but parents have failed in their duties to keep them in line.
“The state is helping. They (the youth) come to probation and we are helping,” Byers said.
“We go to the homes and we do everything, yet some of the parents continue to allow their children to be their parents.”
The probation chief said this has resulted in an increase in juveniles passing through the courts for varying reasons. She said in some instances, youth break their curfews and parents are unaware as to their whereabouts.
“We at times report the matter to the court and the magistrate would give a stern warning to the parent, asking them to work along with the department,” Byers said.
“However, we ourselves sometimes realise that parents lack the necessary parenting skills and as such, we work along with them the best way we can.”
The principal probation officer said the support of the parents is critical to the operations of the department.
According to her, while some youths would have done exceedingly well, others have reverted to more serious offences due to the lack of support at home.
Government has also embarked on several projects to reform juveniles back into society, the latest being the OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project.
Antigua & Barbuda is among six countries in the OECS participating in the United States Agency for International Development-funded programme. (Antigua Observer)