Remarks by Hon. Volda Lawrence,M.P., Minister of Social Protection For Training and Support Development Workshop for foster parents
Ministry of Social Protection, Guyana, Friday, October 14, 2016
The Ministry of Social Protection, and more specifically the Childcare and Protection Agency, would like to extend a warm welcome to you, Ms. Carol Bagot, a Human Service Professional and International Facilitator on Foster Care to Guyana. We are extremely pleased that you have taken time off from what must be a busy schedule to share your expertise and vast professional experience with our foster caregivers. We do appreciate your timely intervention and you can be assured that our foster parents and all those involved in childcare are quite eager to be apprised of the best practices in fostering so that our vulnerable children who are an integral part of the future can be recipients of the best qualitative foster care.
The Childcare and Protection Agency’s Foster Care program is a relatively new initiative aimed at providing family based care as an alternative to institutional care to our vulnerable children. In fact, the Agency firmly believes that family based care would provide a nurturing and supportive environment that would cater for their special needs and promote their emotional and social development. The Agency is therefore firmly committed to advancing foster care in Guyana and to this end has organized this two day training workshop, the outcome of which will be a better-informed core of foster caregivers equipped with a repertoire of skills which will impact significantly and positively on the lives of our vulnerable children.
Our children are our top priority and it is our responsibility that they are placed in a safe environment given the unique and peculiar circumstances that cause their separation from their natural families. We must be cognizant of this and in recognition of these challenges, we must ensure that our caregivers are conversant with the best practices and are in possession of the relevant knowledge and skill base. This seminar provides a wonderful opportunity for all our stakeholders to standardize and so enhance the level of foster care. Fostering is very demanding as it requires patience, dedication and coping skills with the many challenges that are presented. Each of us can claim, I am sure, to have strategies that have worked to resolve different challenges that we may have faced. Notwithstanding, as foster care givers and the crucial role you have to play, you will agree that establishing standards and being au fait with best practices can only result in extending your toolbox and enable you to make better informed decisions.
In conclusion, I wish to encourage all our participants to use this seminar to interact and brainstorm, so that you derive the full benefit of this training. Foster care is the Ministry of Social Protection’s advocacy and as we transition from institutional care, we must clearly understand our roles if we are to enable our disadvantaged children entrusted in our care to move beyond their traumas and make healthy, independent connections into adult life.
I wish once again to say to you, Ms. Bagot, how appreciative the Ministry of Social Protection and the Child Care and Protection are to have you as facilitator of this seminar. We thank you for sharing your time and extensive knowledge and experience with us. This training will be an invaluable launching pad for our foster care program which we anticipate will continue to evolve as we focus on providing much needed support and quality service to our vulnerable children.