‘More foster care parents reduce the number of children in institutions’

-Minister Persaud on observance of Foster Care Month

Children are blessings from God – little souls who need to be cherished, nurtured, and guided in the right direction. With proper parental attention and control, children can grow up to lead productive lives and make rich contributions to their families and our country as a whole.

What about those children who lack such parental guidance in their lives? Our world is replete with the consequences that can occur as a result of lack of guidance and many times, absence of parental presence. It is for this reason that I want to express heartfelt gratitude to foster care parents, who have opened up their hearts and homes to children in need of quality family-based care.

I wish to do so especially in the context of Foster Care Month which is being observed under the theme, “Foster Care as a Support for Families, not a Substitute for Parents.”

For the period January to May of this year, we have 118 girls, 104 boys, and 128 parents engaged in the foster system.  Seventy-nine children have been placed in non-biological families, and 143 are in kinship care.

While these figures are reasonably good so far as Georgetown and a few other places are concerned, what we are really interested in promoting this month is having the buy-in of persons from outlying regions, such as those far-flung and riverine communities.  

At the moment, in order to work with the families and make things right for the children, we have to bring them to Georgetown. We are pleased to say that we are working to change this. During this month, officers of the Childcare and Protection Agency are heavily promoting foster care across the Regions, explaining how our programme works and how individuals could be part of this 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.

We plan to do our best to continue raising the level of awareness of our Foster Care Programme and to recognise the important role and dedication of foster parents. We wish to honour you for your time and commitment in being there for our children.

Even as you continue to care for our young ones, we urge you to be willing to work towards helping the children to be reunited with their biological families.  We want to remind you that while foster care offers continued family-based care, support, guidance and love to a child who has to be separated from his/her biological family, it is only a temporary arrangement until the child can safely be returned home. Once again, thank you very much for your efforts.

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