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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Theme: ‘Strengthening Families and Communities through Foster Care.’
  • The main objective of the week is to heighten awareness of the tremendous work of foster parents and the achievements of the children in their care.
  • The CDA is inviting community members to participate in the service, noting that similar church services will be held across the various regions.

Foster care training and parenting workshops are among the many activities scheduled in observance of the eighth annual National Foster Care Recognition Week, from February 9 to 15.

The activities are being organised by the Child Development Agency (CDA) under the theme, ‘Strengthening Families and Communities through Foster Care.’

Public Relations and Communications Manager of the CDA, Prudence Barnes, told JIS News that the main objective of the week is to heighten awareness of the tremendous work of foster parents and the achievements of the children in their care.

“This is a sort of recognition of the very important role that foster parents play in national development,” she added.

She said that foster care is one of the four main components of the Living in Family Environments (L.I.F.E.) Programme, explaining that this is a process that enables persons who are not the biological parents of a child in residential care, to raise and provide a nurturing environment for the children’s spiritual and emotional growth and development.

“So it is a very important programme to us and we are using this time to just show the foster parents our appreciation. We recognise that many of them go beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of these children,” she added.

Miss Barnes informed that there are an estimated 900 children in foster care and and 760 foster families across Jamaica. “It is really a partnership between the agency and the foster parent to ensure that children are given the opportunities and that they are equipped to be positive citizens of tomorrow,” she said.

The week-long activities, which will be carried out in the various CDA regions across the island, will commence with a National Church Service on Sunday (February 9), at the Mandeville New Testament Church of God, 18 Knowles Road, Mandeville, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The CDA is inviting community members to participate in the service, noting that similar church services will be held across the various regions.

Foster Care training workshops aimed at enhancing the skills of parents will be held from Feb 10 to 13 in the CDA’s South East (Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and St. Catherine) and Western Regions (St. James, Hanover, Trelawny and Westmoreland).

Miss Barnes said the CDA will also use the occasion of National Foster Care Recognition Week to re-launch several Foster Parents Associations. Highlighting the importance of the organisations, she said it is a forum for the foster care parents and the CDA “to maintain that ongoing dialogue and connection around looking out for the interest of the foster children.”

Promotional walks with CDA workers and foster parents will be held in Port Antonio on Tuesday, February 11, to encourage the public to get involved in CDA’s foster care programmes.