– Suitable persons urged to take up the slack
While there are 179 children in foster care, there are only 111 foster parents, leaving the Childcare and Protection Agency (CCPA) grappling for suitable persons to come onboard to help out the situation.
“There will never, ever be enough resources for the things we want,” CCPA Director Ann Greene said in an interview with Kaieteur News. She said that not enough persons, as desired by the CCPA, are trying to become foster parents.
Foster care is an alternative to the institutionalisation of children. Foster care sets out to offer family-based care rather than the general care offered by children in homes. Foster parents offer individualised attention to their foster children. Institutions are usually the last resort.
For foster care, a child’s extended family is the first resort before CCPA seeks out a foster parent. Foster parents are paid a monthly stipend per child as long as the child remains under their care.
Currently, while there are 179 children in foster care, the number of those in state care is much higher. There are in excess of 700 children in both the CCPA’s and residential care. Generally, the number of children in state care is much higher when one takes into account the holding or juvenile centres, which do not fall under CCPA.
According to Greene, the state’s foster care programme is going well. However, she admitted that there is always a need for more foster parents.
She explained that the CCPA’s foster care programme faces a number of challenges. One of those challenges, she said, was the fact that the programme was a structured one, something that was not used to in Guyana in terms of fostering a child.
She explained that Guyana has a culture where a child is left with relatives or family-friends. Often times, children are left for years with persons who are not their parents.
However, the foster care programme provides the same care for the child but in a structured manner. Greene indicated that this structure has deterred some.
She noted that people are used to ‘minding’ a child and saying they raised that child but the foster care programme is much more structured. She said, “Structured foster care is very new to people. With foster care, you got to keep the child then give back the child. Some people want to hold on to the children all the time but foster care is a temporary care. Then, we fix the mother and father and the child has to go back. We’re working to get people to understand to really buy into what we want to do.”
Greene further indicated that Foster Care Month is in November and the CCPA is already working stridently on getting more persons to come onboard and understand the importance of fostering a child.
Meanwhile, before a person can become a foster parent, a number of steps are required, Greene indicated. Recently, a group of persons were trained to become foster parents, and training, Greene said, is a mandatory step. Another mandatory step is the screening of persons in collaboration with the Guyana Police Force, before candidates are accepted into the foster care programme. Greene indicated that while there are persons who would have been rejected as foster parents, this is not often the case. She added that some persons would have been put on hold. “We don’t have many of those though,” she added.
As part of the foster care programme, CCPA embarks upon speedy rehabilitation of foster children’s parents so that these children will stay with foster parents as temporarily as possible.
Mar 23, 2018In the words of the popular Tradewinds song, “Where Are Your Heroes”, the community of Yarrowkabra on the Linden Soesdyke Highway and particularly, the Yarrowkabra Primary School has recognised...
David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis have a huge track record of fighting for the rights and survival of African Guyanese under... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]