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Human Services Ministry in drive to expand foster care countrywide

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 May 2021, 14:37 by Denis Chabrol

Minister of Human Services Dr. Vindhya Persaud

The Ministry of Human Services on Tuesday said it has embarked on a drive to encourage more persons to become foster parents especially in the interior.

Human Services Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said official figures show that from January to May, there are 118 girls, 104 boys, and 128 parents in foster care.  The statistics also indicate that 79 children have been placed in non-biological families and 143 are in kinship care.

Foster care month is being observed under the theme “Foster Care as a Support for Families, not a Substitute for Parents.”

Dr. Persaud said, while most foster care is taking place in Georgetown, Region Four, the Human Services Ministry has embarked on a drive to get more persons to come forward from the other areas of the country to provide proper parental guidance.  She indicated that the plan is to reduce the number of children who are taken to Georgetown for foster care, but instead have them placed in families in the administrative regions that they belong to.

“While these figures are reasonably good so far as Georgetown and a few other places are concerned, what we are really interested in promoting this month is having the buy-in of persons from outlying regions, such as those far-flung and riverain communities,” she said in a statement.

Part of the plan, she said is a fan-out exercise by officers of the Childcare and Protection Agency of the Ministry of  Human Services. “During this month, officers of the Childcare and Protection Agency are heavily promoting foster
care across the Regions, explaining how our programme work and how individuals could be part of this rewarding and positive experience of being a foster parent,” she said. Dr Persaud hoped that by the end of May, 2021 there would be greater awareness of the foster care programme and that families in the hinterland regions would sign on to be foster parents, “all in an effort to have the service available to all our children across the country.”

While thanking foster parents for playing meaningful roles in the development of those are receiving parental guidance and control so that they could lead productive lives, Dr. Persaud urged them to strive towards the reintegration of those children with their biological families. “Even as you continue to care for our young ones, we urge you to be willing to work towards helping the children to be reunited with their biological families,” she said.

The Minister explained that while foster care offers continued family-based care, support, guidance and love to a child who has to be separated from his or her biological family, it is only a temporary arrangement until the
child can safely be returned home.