- This year’s observance of Foster Care Recognition Week under the theme, Foster a Child…Change a Life, is an affirmation of the tremendous role of the foster care programme and foster parents.
- The foster care programme has been a lifeline to the thousands of children who have benefitted from the system over years as well as the nearly 900 children who are currently in the programme.
- Foster care, one of the key components of the LIFE programmes, provides the opportunity for children all across Jamaica to benefit from a loving family environment.
This year’s observance of Foster Care Recognition Week under the theme, Foster a Child…Change a Life, is an affirmation of the tremendous role that the foster care programme and foster parents have played in transforming the lives of the children who have had the privilege of being part of the programme.
Indeed, the foster care programme has been a lifeline to the thousands of children who have benefitted from the system over years as well as the nearly 900 children who are currently in the programme.
The Child Development Agency is responsible for the welfare of children in the care of the State, affording them all the rights accorded under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA), including nutrition, education, health, shelter, social development and recreation.
Both the UNCRC and the CCPA cite the family as the ideal setting within which to raise a child, and as a result the CDA has been intensifying its effort to place children in its Living in Family Environment (LIFE) programmes as part of the move to enhance their growth and development.
Foster care, one of the key components of the LIFE programmes, provides the opportunity for children all across Jamaica to benefit from a loving family environment, even as they are in the care of the State. Children in loving foster families have been known to do better in all areas of their lives – in their overall education, health and emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing.
As a result, children who have benefited from the foster care system, can be found in all spheres of life; foster children are teachers, lawyers, doctors, trades persons and business persons, among others. By making solid investments in the lives of these children, foster parents have played a key role in impacting the wider community, Jamaica and the world.
The CDA therefore views this partnership between families and the State to support our children as an integral part of nation-building. Those who participate in the national foster care programme as parents are life-changers, giving children a path to positive social upliftment and improved life prospects.
By changing one life, foster parents are in essence creating a ripple effect that is changing many more lives all across the nation and the world.
It is against this background that I encourage more Jamaicans from all walks of life to open their hearts and share their homes with a child. Give a child the benefit of your love, care and support. Give a child hope in the future and the chance to realise his or her fullest potential.
I thank foster parents from all across Jamaica for your dedication. Let us continue to work together. Together, we will not only strengthen our children today, but will reap dividends for many years to come.