The Child Development Agency (CDA) has been promoting proper parenting practices in the society, through the staging of parenting workshops across the island.
This was disclosed by Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Mrs. Carla Francis –Edie, at the South East Region foster care appreciation luncheon, held on February 14 at Tropical Elegance, in Kingston.
The CEO also pointed out that the agency has already hosted workshops across western Jamaica.
“There is a serious parenting gap in Jamaica, fuelling the number of children coming into the care of the Child Development Agency. The truth is many parents did not learn how to become parents. They may have been young themselves when they had these children, or their parents were not positive examples for them,” Mrs. Francis-Edie said.
She noted that the CDA is currently working with children and their families to provide the necessary support, thereby preventing a significant number of children from coming into the care of the CDA.
The CEO said that even as the CDA takes the necessary steps to address the issue of parenting, the agency is encouraging Jamaicans to get involved in the foster care programme.
“It is only when upstanding men and women stand in the gap for children that we will begin to see the positive change that this great nation needs. I take this opportunity to commend the 800 foster parents around the island who continue to be there for the children in need and picking up the slack where many biological parents have fallen short,” she said.
Mrs. Francis-Edie noted that the CDA recognises the challenges facing foster parents, and urged that “as we go forward, we learn from our experiences and work together to resolve them”.
“The CDA has made representation for increased benefits to foster parents, as we realise times are harder and things have gotten tighter, due to the global economic crisis. We also commit to ensuring that we maintain strong and open lines of communication between the agency and the foster families. As an agency, we will work to ensure that we only experience the highest level of service and responsiveness in our interaction with you,” the CEO told the foster parents.
Foster care is a more desirable alternative to placing a child in a residential child care facility. It is aimed at providing a safe family environment for children aged between zero and 18 years who have become wards of the State as a result of being abused, orphaned, abandoned, neglected or unable to be cared for by their parents, relatives or guardians.