JIS News

The Child Development Agency (CDA) is appealing to persons to open their homes to children eight years and under, who need the care of foster families.
Making the call today (February 8), at a National Church Service, held at the Ridgemount United Church, in Mandeville, Manchester, to mark Foster Care Week, Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Allison Anderson, said foster parenting would make a marked difference in the lives of over 350 children.
“The Agency needs to get more people to become familiar with foster care. Sign up for training and then take that important step of becoming involved. Simultaneously, we want to answer the many questions and correct the misconceptions that persons have about foster care,” Miss. Anderson said.
She added that if the CDA is going to realise its objective of significantly reducing the number of children in residential care, on the basis that the family is the preferred environment for raising children, it is essential that the programme attracts more persons.
“Over the past two years, we have maintained our foster care placements at 18 per cent or more precisely, 1,148 children of the total number of children in care, live in homes with foster families. Even though placements have been consistent over the last three years, settling at approximately 250 new placements per year, there has been no real growth in the programme, as each year that number is equalled by the number of children who mature out of State care,” she said.
Commending the support given to the foster care programme by religious institutions, the CDA Head noted that, “the Church’s involvement must be highlighted, as your mandate of restoration, promoting and upholding family values, nurturing and discipleship makes you the ideal partner in this drive.”
“And, although the Church already plays a significant role, operating approximately 80 per cent of the residential child care facilities islandwide, which we must commend, family-based care is where we want to go for the future,” Miss Anderson added.
Foster Care Week will be observed from February 8 to 14, and persons between 25 and 65 years of age can be foster parents.

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