CPA protecting the nation’s children amid COVID
—places 21 in foster homes
DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 22, 2020
Childcare services have a responsibility to continue to providing support and security to vulnerable children under all conditions and this includes foster care and adoption. As such, the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), between January to June placed 97 children into their foster care programme.
Speaking to DPI, Senior Probation and Social Officer, with supervisory responsibility for the Foster Care Department, Monique Meusa said the foster care programme has seen an increase in 2020.
“As of last December 2019, there were 175 children in the foster care programme, currently, we have 198 children. Notably, between January to June last there were 12 children placed into the foster care. However, in comparison and despite the COVID pandemic thus far for 2020, we have placed 21 children into the foster care programme,” Meusa explained.
She added that the Childcare and Protection Agency has put systems in place to protect vulnerable children throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“Similar to our institutional care centres all precautionary measures are being undertaken. Foster parents are notified of a potential placement two weeks in advance and at that point, the caseworker would verify if any member of that household was or is exhibiting any sign of COVID-19, they are further advised by the Ministry of Public Health.”
Care is taken to also protect the foster parents, therefore all children who are coming directly from their respective home environments are quarantine at the agency’s care facilities for the stipulated period.
Meusa said the foster care department is currently working on a rotational basis and continues to monitor children after placement through frequent WhatsApp video calls to all children in the foster care department.
“The Agency continues to provide the necessary psychosocial support if needed to children, this is done via WhatsApp, phone calls and also face-to-face interaction when necessary. Of course, all precautionary measures are undertaken once the child visits the office for counselling, face masks are provided to children and the officers are attired in their protective gear and social distancing is maintained,” she explained.
Meanwhile, at the CPA’s adoption unit, Manager Kaycina Jardine noted that due to the pandemic extra measures were implemented to assist in the processing of adoptions.
“We can address adoption matter by telephone and emails, persons can still visit the agency being mindful of the necessary safety practices. However, they may need to call in for us to meet the needs of everyone without hindrances. At this time, the adoption board is on hold until further notice,” she stated.
Jardine explained that with regards to adoption matters that require the attention of the High Court, all pertinent information is forwarded to the court registry’s email and responses from the court are received in the same manner.
She reminded those persons with adoption matters engaging the court to maintain regular contact with their attorneys who will provide further advice.
It was disclosed that the agency is receiving support from UNICEF and the European Union through Childlink, which assists with the agency’s reunification programme designed to return children – who would have been in institutional care – to their parents. The aim is to prevent the separation of children from their families.
For persons seeking more information, they can call the adoption department on telephone numbers 225-7450 or 225-1257 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org