Foster Parents are Nation-Builders
With the observance of National Foster Care Recognition Week (February 9 to 15) underway, Foster parents have been applauded for their role as nation-builders.
Minister of Youth and Culture the Hon. Lisa Hanna, in her message for the week, recognised the incredible contribution that foster parents make to the country by opening their homes and welcoming children in the care system to be part of their families.
The Minister’s message was read by Acting Regional Director for CDA’s Southern Region, Franchine Rhoomes at the National Church Service held at the Mandeville New Testament Church of God on Sunday (February 9). Foster Care Week is being observed under the theme, “Strengthening Families and Communities through Foster Care.
“I think we are all agreed that that the best place for a child to grow and develop is in the warm embrace of a nurturing and loving family,” the Minister’s message read, adding: “that is why the Ministry has placed family-based care arrangements among its priorities and has developed Living in Family Environment (LIFE) Programme. “
Foster care is a major component of the CDA’s Living in Family Environment (LIFE) Programme, enabling children to have the benefit of a home environment while in State care.
Encouraging members of the community to join the foster care programmme, the Minister noted that the LIFE programme would not have achieved a 56 per cent placement without foster parents.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey called foster parents nation-builders, adding that the Agency would continue to provide practical support to address the health, educational and psychosocial needs of the nearly 900 foster children in some 760 foster homes.
“The theme of foster care week 2014 is a testament to the tremendous respect for the role foster parents play in nation-building by holding the fabric of our families and communities together and in filling a critical gap where biological parents are unable to perform their parental role,” she said.
Referring to the relationship between the CDA and foster parents as a partnership for the development of the children, Mrs. Gage-Grey said, “We have been blessed with a corps of committed foster parents all across the island, who go beyond the call of duty to serve our children, and with whom we keep in close contact, through the various associations and training workshops and seminars.”
She noted that the partnership between the foster parents and the Agency had borne fruit with foster children doing well in their academic endeavors, observing that the Agency and foster parents must work to strengthen the partnership in the best interest of the children.
“It is in all our interest that we work in harmony to pave a bright and prosperous future for children. Our goal must always be to work collectively to restore them and set them on a firm path to future success,” Mrs. Gage-Grey said.
Foster Parent Ava Tomlinson in her testimonial said she was honoured to be a foster parent.
Recalling how the staff at the CDA assisted her to foster a child to fulfill a lifelong dream, she shared the joy being experienced with the child she began fostering as a new born.
Urging others to foster, she noted the ability of a child “to enrich your life by testing you, blessing you and teaching you how to pray.”
Pointing out that the family was designed by God, Senior Pastor of the Mandeville New Testament Church Dr. Osborne Fisher in his sermon underscored the importance of the family to the preservation of society.
He highlighted the need for the original family structure to be maintained in order to strengthen communities and to build a better society.
Contact: Prudence N. Barnes