‘Give them a chance to be a kid; let them know they’re loved’

Foster Care parents urge:

‘Give them a chance to be a kid; let them know they’re loved’ 

As observations for National Foster Care Month 2021 comes to an end, the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) on Friday invited Mr. Rudolph and Mrs. Joycelyn Williams and a single parent to share their experiences as foster parents.

“You do not have to be rich to be a foster care parent, you just have to be willing to help. From a place of love, anything is possible,” said Mrs. Joycelyn Williams, who has helped to make a difference in the lives of approximately 15 children over the past 10 years.

Mr. Rudolph and Mrs. Joycelyn Williams.

Together with her husband Rudolph, the couple has six children of their own who are all now adults. However, as foster parents, their home has always been full of children over the years.

Mr. Williams is a mini-bus driver while his wife does home nursing and rears chickens to augment their income. The couple has chosen to foster children out of pure love for children.  

“You have to let the children know that they are loved even if a problem comes up. It’s a journey and we can be change agents to whatever is happening to children. I encourage anyone to support the Ministry,” Mrs. Williams said.

She accepts whichever child is placed in her care by the CPA, irrespective of their race and other factors.

“I do not choose the children that they give to me. I have dealings with all the races and that is the joy of it; love doesn’t look at colour. And if you go into it for the stipend, then you’re missing the joy of it,” she said.

Meanwhile, her husband said he makes it a point to ensure that the children in his care are happy and comfortable so that when they leave his home, they’ll only have positive memories to share and may even want to return when possible.

“I will always continue to support my wife because that makes the journey more comfortable and a success. I ask God to help me deal with these children because we have to sharpen them and shape them for society,” he said.

Mr. Williams said he’s found that simply adjusting a room and placing a bed in it is often all that it takes to help someone.

Single parent to three foster kids, Ms. Bonicka Gordon.

Meanwhile, Ms. Bonicka Gordon, 30, has been a single parent for the past year since her sister died suddenly leaving five children behind. When the opportunity presented itself for her to become a biological foster care parent, she didn’t think twice. After some time, her brother and his wife adopted two of the children.

“My family support system was a big help, along with my close friends and co-workers. They allowed me necessary time off from work and gave me whatever support I needed,” Ms. Gordon, a Quality and Safety Officer at Strategic Recruitment Solutions, said.  

She said while becoming a parent is a huge responsibility and challenge at times, it also provides a meaningful opportunity to help kids who may have never had the opportunity to receive love and affection.

“You’re giving them a chance to be a kid and if you were in that position, you’d want someone to give you a chance.”

She spoke well about the support that the CPA provides. “The amount of support they give was surprising; it’s almost as if they’re a part of your family full time,” Ms. Gordon reflected.

In Guyana, 222 children are currently within the foster care system, which has 128 foster parents.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud said recently in a statement that 79 children have been placed in non-biological families while 143 are in kinship care.

Officers of the CPA have been promoting foster care heavily across the regions, explaining how the programmes work and how individuals could be part of the rewarding and positive experience of being a foster parent.

“We hope that at the end of this month there would be increased awareness of the programme and families in the hinterland regions would sign on to be foster parents, all in an effort to have the service available to all our children across the country,” Minister Persaud said.

The Minister committed to raising the level of awareness of the Foster Care Programme and to recognise the important role and dedication of foster parents. She stressed the need to honour foster parents for their time and commitment in being there for the children within their care.

Persons interested in becoming foster care parents can contact the CPA on 227 0979, 231-8423 or 227 4082. The Ministry can also be contacted on 229-2807, 229 2751 and 229 2842.

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