Fostering with Love


Seven years ago, St. Elizabeth cattle farmer and mother of two girls, Donntte Ewars, decided to foster 10-year old Troy Sterling, whose mother was unable to care for him.
Now 17 and getting high grades at the Lewisville High School which he attends, the young man has given Ms. Ewars no reason to regret her decision. “I have no regrets,” she says. “A child living with a foster parent must feel comfortable in their new home and from day one, he became a part of us. My youngest daughter Tash, who lives here, gets the same love and attention that Troy receives. I don’t treat them differently. Both of them get the same amount of money for school and they live as brother and sister. We are one family in this house,” she shares with JIS News on a recent visit to the home.
She says that Troy is disciplined and obedient and is always willing to assist with chores. “He has never frowned on me. He just loves to help with anything that there is to do around the house,” Ms. Ewers says. She also admires his commitment to his school work. “If rain falls and he can’t go to school, he’s vexed. His lessons come first. He tells me that all the time,” the proud foster mother relates.
Nodding in agreement, Troy, in a soft but confident tone says: “school is the greatest thing for me. I want to be an accountant and I can only achieve it by passing my exams, and I’m only going to pass if I’m prepared for the sittings”.
The St. James-born youngster also had high praises for his foster mother, noting that his life would have been wasted if he had not been placed in her home.
“If it was not for the love and protection that she and her sister gave me, I would have been in jail or dead. Before coming here, I had a lot of free time and it caused me to be associated with friends who were unruly,” he tells JIS News. He says that some of them have since been killed while others are in prison. “Had I remained in that community, my fate would not have been different from theirs,” he remarks.
The Child Development Agency (CDA), which is in charge of the country’s foster care programme, is on a mission to get more children out of institutional care and to place them in loving homes. There are currently 1, 160 children in the foster care programme. This figure represents approximately 20 per cent of the 5, 890 children in state care. Persons desirous of becoming foster parents must be committed to raising a child; show love, respect and care for children; be in good moral and legal standing; and can provide food, clothing, shelter and education for children placed in their care.
CDA Team Leader for St. Elizabeth, Shelly Bent Parchment, says that part of her task as a child officer is to do regular visits to homes that are providing foster care and ensure that the children’s rooms and clothing are in good order. Counselling is also provided for the children and guidance to parents when necessary. She says that Ms Ewars is a “wonderful foster parent”. “She is committed to giving Troy a good life and the little things that a child would be in need of she ensures that he gets them. He is very motivated and his school gives him good reports,” she states.
Troy is the president of the mathematics group in his class. He plays football for the school and for a club in the Vineyards community, where he resides.

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