Solomon Islands Minister Says Modernization Leads To Increasingly Vulnerable Children

Economic pressures 'weakening ... traditional family and community structures'

By George Atkin, Research Officer (Media Liaison) Caucus for GCU

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 10, 2017) – Economic pressures are weakening Solomon Islands’ traditional family and community structures.

The Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Tautai Kaitu’u highlighted this while presenting to Parliament the Child and Family Welfare Bill 2016.

And he blamed modernisation for the changing social behaviours of the country’s children who are moving away from their families as they search for better education and jobs.

But Dr Kaitu’u said in their search for better education and jobs, they are separated from their families, communities and their normal traditional protective environment - thus resulting in the risk of child abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Dr Kaitu’u said in the past in Solomon Islands, social fabrics placed great emphasis on the care and the nurture of “our children” as they were being looked after by the whole community and not by a single family.

He said family ties were strong then as community members took on the responsibility of caring and teaching children about customs, culture and values.

Thus the intentions of the Child and Welfare Bill 2016 that Dr Kaitu’u had presented to Parliament are to reverse the new social trends with provisions for children’s welfare and protection with special emphasis on strengthening and promoting their wellbeing.

Dr Kaitu’u said the new Child and Family Welfare law would ensure families and communities receive advice and support on how to care and protect their children and give certain powers to social welfare officers in their roles to provide for the families’ welfares.

He said essentially, the bill outlines what the country will do to promote the well-being and development of children so they will be protected from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

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