The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) has warned parents to stop sending their children in the streets to sell during school hours or risk arrest.
In a press statement issued here Tuesday, 24 February the Ministry said it is deeply concerned about the failure of some parents to keep their children off the streets of Monrovia and its environs despite the resumption of normal academic activities.
It warns parents, guardians and caretakers to immediately desist from sending school-going children in the streets to serve as breadwinners for the family, while their friends are in school.
“We have observed with dismay an increase in the number of school going kids in the streets while regular school activities are in progress; such situation is very alarming and puts the children’s lives at risk”, the release read.
To this effect, the Ministry has setup a new mechanism to effectively monitor kids in the streets, especially in Monrovia and its environs. It stressed that parents of any child found in the streets selling or engaging in unhealthy activities would face arrest.
The release further noted that the Ministry is also encouraging parents to take advantage of the Government’s free primary education package and keep their children in school, saying, “With the free primary education initiative, we expect that Liberian children should be afforded the opportunity to returning to school instead of being used as breadwinners for their families.”
Meanwhile, the release has quoted Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell as calling on parents to heed the warning or risk punitive action.
She said children age 17 and below found selling in the streets are subject to arrest with subsequent punishment for their parents.
The Gender Ministry is also calling on religious groups, civil society groups, and community leaders to assist in the effort of keeping children off the streets by ensuring that they are in school as the future of the kids’ lies squarely on the development of a solid foundation.
By Lewis S. Teh