With 110 children living in children’s homes around the island, the Child Care Board is stepping up efforts during Child Month to raise awareness about its foster care programme.
Two public education forums will seek to generate interest in the programme, and provide information about the process to persons interested in becoming foster parents.
The first session takes place at the Church of God, Mile and & A Quarter, St. Peter, on Wednesday, May 15, at 7:15 p.m. Resource persons will be Senior Child Care Officer, Colin St. Hill; former foster child, Jennifer Walker; and foster parent, Lynn Morgan.
That same panel will lead the session at the Wesleyan Holiness Church, Welches, St. Michael, the following Wednesday, May 22, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Mr. St. Hill said that there were currently seven children in foster care and the Child Care Board had a list of 14 approved foster parents.
To be eligible for the programme, foster parents must either be a married couple or a single female. They must be 25 years or older, and at least 18 years older than the child.
There are three types of foster care – short-term care, which can last up to six months; emergency care, which is required at short notice in cases such as the hospitalization of a parent; and long-term care, where the child lives with the foster parents up to age 18 and sometimes beyond.
Mr. St. Hill said that there were not many people coming forward to foster children, and one reason could be that they were unaware of the programme, hence the decision to hold the public information sessions.
Other activities for Child Month include a National Children’s Service, which takes place at New Dimensions Ministries, Barbarees Hill, St. Michael, on Friday, May 10; open days at day nurseries across the island showcasing the children’s art and craft; a Volunteer Day being hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education on May 30; and a variety concert at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael, on June 8.
There will also be an art competition in schools based on the theme for Child Month, Celebrating The Champion In You. It is targeted at three age groups – seven to 11, 12 to 15, and 16 to 18.
For more information on the activities planned for Child Month, interested persons should contact the Child Care Board at 535-2800, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.