Fathers of neglected or abandoned children who may no longer be in a relationship with the mothers have been asked to step up and take responsibility for their children despite their relationship status.
This call was made by social worker and counselor Koren Norton who noted that although relatives, health or welfare authorities would in some cases step in to offer whatever assistance they can, fathers should also come forward.
“Stand by your partner,” Norton appealed to the men yesterday on OBSERVER AM. “Even if you and the woman are no longer in a relationship, just make an effort to support your child. The effect on the child who’s been abandoned or put away could be damaging.”
Her comments follow the discovery last Saturday morning of an abandoned nine-day-old baby girl who was left in a small cardboard box on someone’s doorstep in Gray Hill.
Norton said while she could not speak about that particular case, her comments concerned what typically happens in the country.
She pointed out that although some of these cases do not make it to the public domain, there is a rise in cases of children being abandoned by their mothers.
Norton further explained that, in some cases, even when both parents share the same home with their children, they still fail to fulfill their roles.
“What we have occurring more is parents are abandoning their children even while they are physically there. We have a lot of reasons why persons do something like that. Some of those being that they cannot afford to take care of a child. Sometimes the partner promised he would have done this and that, and then they got pregnant and . . . couldn’t find the partner. They deliver the child, couldn’t find the partner . . . they are maybe unemployed and have no financial resources, so they just feel like they can’t even feed themselves, much less a child,” Norton said.
“We have some persons who suffer from postpartum depression and they feel unable to take care of their child. If they are depressed, they are in a dark place, the baby crying is just irritating [to them] and they are having all kind of thoughts towards this little crying, loud baby so they kind of try to put them away. We have some cases such as substance abuse and we also have some persons who suffer from mental illness and are homeless.”
Norton said people in the community who can identify some of these cases should refer them to the organisations capable of providing or sourcing help.
“At the hospital, I know that if they recognize the patient appears to be high risk, they would refer that person to social support and counseling. This happens at the community clinics also, because we have gotten calls.
“I would say this is a major point of intervention…but if you identify someone is high risk, refer them to social services.”