Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Ministry: Single fathers not left out of Public Assistance Act

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) says it does not discriminate against gender, geographical location and/or political affilitation. 

That's according to a statement issued on Wednesday, as the Ministry says it gives assistance to the most vulnerable in society under a number of programmes, grants and services for all eligible individuals.

The MSDFS was responding to comments by Pesident of the Single Father’s Association, Rhondall Feeles, who slammed the Finance Minister's budget announcement that the Government will establish daycare centres for children of female-headed households. Feeles also said that men are being discriminated against when it comes to Public Assistance.

In response, the MSDFS says on the contrary, both genders receive help. 

"Many male and female single parent households continue to access grants and services through the Public Assistance Act of Trinidad and Tobago. Such provisions are cited under Chapter 32:03 of the Act, which recognises some of the varying social and economic challenges that households may encounter.  Specifically, throughout regulations 3A. (b), (c) and 4(2). (c), the circumstances under which applicants may apply are carefully outlined. To be eligible for this and other services however, applicants must first satisfy the statutory requirements of the Ministry’s Standard Means Test." 

The Ministry adds that at its recently concluded parenting workshops under the MSDFS’ National Family Services Division, single fathers and mothers attended the cycles.

These sessions included knowledge-sharing on topics such as teenage pregnancy, teens and sexuality, cyber bullying, child abuse, conflict resolution and anger management. Counselling and mediation services are also available for all interested persons and households through this Division of the Ministry.

The MSDFS says it continues to make allowances for all single-parent households through its various divisions and partnerships with non-governmental, faith and community-based groups. 

It further notes that parents have the opportunity to improve their literacy and employability status by registering for adult education classes, for which cycles are regularly advertised.

"To complement this, children between the ages of nine and 21 can also become registered with the Ministry’s Retiree Adolescent Partnership Programme, which provides mentoring services and co-curricular activities for boys and girls," the release said. 

For further information about the Ministry’s programmes, policies and services, citizens are encouraged to visit its website at http://www.social.gov.tt.

Alternatively, information can also be sought via TTconnect’s various service centres and kiosks, as well as, through the MSDFS’ toll-free hotline at 800-OPIC.

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