JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Monday, October 20, will be a special day for Miranda Judith Townsend, of Holly Hill in Darliston, Westmoreland.
  • She will be presented with a national award by the Government of Jamaica - the Badge Of Honour For Long And Faithful Service to the Child Protection Sector - at the National Honours and Awards ceremony, to be held at King’s House.
  • Ms. Townsend, who worked as a Basic School Teacher and then as a member of the Post and Telegraph Department, has been a Foster Mother for over 45 years, during which she has nurtured and raised 18 Wards of the State.

Monday, October 20, will be a special day for Miranda Judith Townsend, of Holly Hill in Darliston, Westmoreland.

She will be presented with a national award by the Government of Jamaica – the Badge Of Honour For Long And Faithful Service to the Child Protection Sector – at the National Honours and Awards ceremony, to be held at King’s House.

Ms. Townsend, who worked as a Basic School Teacher and then as a member of the Post and Telegraph Department, has been a Foster Mother for over 45 years, during which she has nurtured and raised 18 Wards of the State.

While caring for the children, she has also assisted hundreds of residents, both young and old, from the communities of Holly Hill, Dillon Bigwoods, Hopewell, Darliston, and other adjoining areas.

Affectionately called ‘Mama Sweetie’ by her foster children and members of the Holly Hill community, Ms. Townsend said despite doing this service for the nation for almost half a century, she has no plans to retire.

“I retired from the Post and Telegraph Department and have dedicated the last

20 years to the job of raising kids on behalf of the State. I truly enjoy this job and it has been really rewarding for me. I have watched these children who come to me, some even as infants, and they have matured and have grown into respectable, responsible citizens who are serving Jamaica in her development,” she tells JIS News.

Born in Darliston, Westmoreland, Ms. Townsend says she will be a mother, friend and helper until she passes on.

She was honoured in 2006 by the Child Development Agency (CDA), under the national Foster Care Programme, as the most outstanding foster parent for the year.

Ms. Townsend began her role as a Foster Mother in 1965.  “I was in church when I heard about a boy who was at one of the children’s homes and needed a home. I enquired and got the necessary information and documents, which enabled me to become a Foster Mother to the seven-year-old. My new ‘son’ quickly settled in the family and stayed until he became an adult,” she notes.

Reflecting on her life as a Foster Mother, Ms. Townsend says she could not have done what she did without the full support of the CDA, whose officers have been a tower of strength to her, even in times when things were not running smoothly.

She attributes her commitment to being a Foster Mother and for serving the country, to her love for children and the energy she gets from seeing her “sons and daughters” thrive.

“I love to have children around me…even when they are noisy. I love to cook for them. I also enjoy when they get a good education, which prepares them for life. In other words, I love to see them ‘come to something’,” she says.

A biological mother of three, two sons – a retired School Principal and one currently in the classroom – and a daughter, who is a businesswoman, Ms. Townsend is also a farmer and an active member in the Moravian church.

She is very delighted about the national award. “I am truly thankful to the Government for this recognition. However, I am not doing this job for pay or for recognition…it’s for service. My payment and satisfaction come from seeing my children becoming responsible and respectable men and women in our society,” she adds.

The National Honours and Awards will be presented by Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 20.