The organization, which is the region’s first indigenous foundation dedicated to early childhood development, held its meeting at the Accra Beach Hotel in Christ Church, Barbados.
The founding members of the FDCC include regional representatives from the financial, education and business sector as well as the legal fraternity and regional organisations, and represent a slice of the Caribbean, hailing from St. Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada. A major outcome of the meeting following a thorough review of the draft presented was full endorsement of the Foundation’s By-laws, which speak to issues critical to the governance of the FDCC.
According to a Caribbean360 news item, “The FDCC will provide much-needed assistance to regional governments in mainstreaming high-quality early childhood development services within existing social structures, ensuring that children get the foundation they deserve. The founding members expressed their support and confidence in the new Foundation, noting the rationale for its establishment hinges on a number of factors, including high levels of poverty and low maternal education in the region, both being substantial risk factors for child development. Additionally, the need for sustained financing and other support that allows for deliberate targeting of those from socially and economically challenged environments to ensure they have equal opportunities to reach their maximum potential.”
Additionally, “The Foundation will not be starting with an empty slate but will be evolving out of the successful 8-year-old Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI) programme. Established in 2002, the CCSI, a programme of the Caribbean Center for Development Administration (CARICAD), addresses poor parenting practices and the inadequate cognitive stimulation of young children living in difficult social and economic circumstances. After two phases of experimenting and consolidating efforts to position good quality early childhood development and family support services in the region, the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) funded CCSI will cease to exist in December 2011.”
In keeping with the purpose of the CCSI to strengthen the care environment for young children in the Caribbean, the FDCC visions a Caribbean region where young children from all social and economic backgrounds have equal opportunities to reach their maximum potential. Its mission therefore, is to have well adjusted children ready for primary education by facilitating cognitive, social and emotional stimulation of children 0-5 years in disadvantaged circumstances; supporting knowledge and capacity building to parents and other caregivers and through advocacy to decision-makers and other stakeholders.
The founding members commended the CCSI on their many milestones and accomplishments over the past years, and endorsed the FDCC’s ability to continue the important processes of family and community intervention, knowledge building and application, and policy advocacy.
They stated their commitment to ensuring the Foundation’s success, with a critical objective being to mainstream and scale-up essential, high-quality services for young children and families in the region. The members reaffirmed their commitment to the process and agreed that the transition to FDCC will be a formidable task, one that the CCSI has already made positive strides toward and one that with the right support at this critical embryonic phase of its development, can deliver its planned objectives.
The CCSI Programme Director, Ms. Susan Branker stated that many Caribbean states face challenges in resourcing early childhood development. She said that “The CCSI and the founding members of the FDCC are certain that the new Foundation will prove essential to the region because of the levels of poverty and the attendant risk factors for early childhood development, coupled with insufficient parental support services.”
(Content for this article was taken from a Caribbean360 report)