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Community 15 Jun, 2023 Follow News


Having just completed two intense months of outreach programs, the Cayman Islands Family Resource Centre continues its packed agenda of year-round activities catering to the needs of families and young parents.

All of this is reflected in the Centre’s remit: “Facilitating programmes for the entire family, our team aims to develop parent’s skills to successfully manage their children’s behaviour and improve the lines of communication in the home.”

Amber Caum, Parenting Practitioner with the Family Resource Centre gave an overview of their work in an interview on Cayman Conversations with Ralph Lewis, publisher of Caymanian Times newspaper.

The agency comprises a team of ten professionals who collaborate with other divisions in a multi-sector approach to providing vital support to families, especially those facing challenging circumstances.

They also conduct extensive counselling programmes using various approaches including group, family and individual confidential sessions along with outreach to schools.

“Say, for instance, you have a child experiencing challenges or they’re demonstrating challenging behaviours. We work with that family on a one-to-one basis. We also help facilitate a number of groups. One of the groups I facilitate is the young parents services and that programme caters to young parents between the ages of 13 to 25. And it’s very structured. We support those individuals with parenting skills,” the FRC’s Amber Caum explained.

For young parents who have had their education and career plans interrupted due to pregnancy, the Family Resource Centre has a structured yet flexible program that responds to individual needs.

“We support those individuals with parenting skills and we also look at their employability and enhance those skills. And then we also have a component called where they pretty much just reflect on their own journeys looking at things like relationships, their self-worth and their values.”

Advice, guidance and support cover a wide range of situations from housing to employment, childcare, careers, and domestic violence concerns all fall within the remit of the FRC. Much attention also focused on young fathers assisting them to understand and carry their share of parenting responsibilities. “It takes two to tango,” as Family Practitioner Caum put it.

With the sensitivities surrounding these issues, she assured that matters such as relationships, teenage pregnancies and parenting issues are handled sensitively, confidentially and in an age-appropriate manner.

However, with the number of teenage pregnancies increasing during the COVID pandemic, Ms Caum said these are conversations that Cayman needs to have, in response to the issue raised by program host Ralph Lewis.

“It’s all about mindset and a culture that you will have to work with train over time, to get them to buy into what you are trying to do,” he suggested.

The experience so far, Ms Caums replied, is that young people are more forthcoming in discussing these matters than their seniors. The view is that the more these once-taboo topics are faced, the better the outcomes would be for the community.

“When I work with parents I tell them the reality is you parent the way you were parented for the majority of the time. But as a parent, you have a certain toolbox. What I always encourage parents to identify with is that they are parenting in a different time than when they were raised,” she said.

“The reality is that your children are going to be talking about it or they’re going to be hearing about it from friends. So you should be ensuring that whatever information they have when it comes to sex and sexuality is reliable, accurate information, not tiptoeing around the topic and then your child is getting false information.”

The FRC Family Practitioner also said they are encouraging young parents to take on roles of mentor to their peers based on their own experiences.

Ms Caums said while they appreciate the assistance they receive from the government, the private sector, the community and other agencies the demands on the FRC are high and resources are stretched.

“Small but mighty” is how she described the FRC team.

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