CPFSA Formalising Mentorship Programme

Photo: Garwin Davis Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey.

Story Highlights

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, says the agency is currently formalising a mentorship programme, through which young children can be guided by positive role models.
  • “We want to create a culture where every person sees a child as his or her own. By this, we are engaging persons to create a community of protectors; persons who will help to care and protect our children,” Mrs. Gage-Grey added.
  • The CEO said children must be protected from harm, so if a parent is neglecting his or her child, “your role is to reach out to that parent and give them as much support as possible. If we do this, we would have lessened the chances of a child being exposed to danger”.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, says the agency is currently formalising a mentorship programme, through which young children can be guided by positive role models.

Speaking at the launch of Sarah’s Children, an advocacy group formed to protect children and the elderly from abuse, at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel & Spa in St. James on March 8, Mrs. Gage-Grey said “we will recruit big brothers and sisters who will be matched with our children”.

“We want to create a culture where every person sees a child as his or her own. By this, we are engaging persons to create a community of protectors; persons who will help to care and protect our children,” Mrs. Gage-Grey added.

The CEO said children must be protected from harm, so if a parent is neglecting his or her child, “your role is to reach out to that parent and give them as much support as possible. If we do this, we would have lessened the chances of a child being exposed to danger”.

She noted that last year, the Government launched the Child Development Agency (CDA) Cares, a volunteer programme which “seeks the assistance of the public in mentoring our children”.

“We can do this by adopting a home, sponsoring a child or giving service to children in the care of the State. This, we believe, can be the breakthrough in transforming the lives of our children,” Mrs. Gage-Grey said.

The CEO noted that persons can assist with transforming the lives of children through the Foster Care programme.

“Foster care is a legal process that allows non-biological parents to provide for children in State care in a stable environment, which contributes to their overall development,” Mrs. Gage-Grey said.

She further pointed out that children who have been placed in foster care are usually those who have been abused, orphaned, abandoned, neglected or cannot be cared for by their parents or relatives.

“We have the short-term foster care, which allows children to be placed temporarily with families while alternative arrangements for accommodation are made,” Mrs. Gage-Grey said.

“Then there is the permanent foster care, which provides children with an opportunity to be placed with families on a long-term basis until they are ready for independent living. There is also the kinship fostering, which allows children to be placed with relatives on a long-term or short-term basis,” she added.

Mrs. Gage-Grey pointed out that there is a list of criteria to be fulfilled before one can become a foster parent, a prerequisite to ensure that children are not placed in an at-risk situation.

“One has to be a responsible adult in good legal standing, who exhibits good parental qualities. That person must also be between the age of 25 and 65 years. However, consideration may be given to persons over 65 years if the individual is a relative of the child,” she explained.

The CEO said that it could either be a single individual or a couple, and that placement with a single man is only done if the applicant is related to the child, or in exceptional circumstances.

“There must also be evidence of a suitable accommodation for a child, taking into consideration the community on a whole,” Mrs. Gage-Grey said.

“The prospective parent must also be gainfully employed or have a steady income to meet the needs of the family. There should also be a willingness to undergo a medical examination,” she added.

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