Child Care Board chair Catherine Jordan wants more Barbadians to become foster parents in a bid to boost the numbers of registered foster parents by one-third.
Jordan said although the Board holds the state responsibility to care for the nation’s children, every child deserves the opportunity to grow up in a normal environment.
She made the call at the recent launch of Child Month at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Christ Church.
“We want all Barbadians to assist our efforts to ensure the well-being of our nation’s children. So we invite you to partner with us in adopting or fostering a child to ensure that our children benefit from a loving, nurturing home.
“Before you ask me what will happen to child care officers if we do too much adopting and fostering. The child care officer, instead of going into the homes, he would go into the community to see those children. Because we want to ensure that our children live in a normal environment as possible,” she said.
Foster care offers family-based care for children who cannot stay in their original homes because they have been harmed or are at risk.
In a partnership between the Child Care Board and an approved individual or couple, the board provides supervision and ongoing support to the child and foster parents.
The child may receive short-term, long-term or emergency care.
Foster parents may have to acquire additional parenting skills that will assist them in providing the care their ward may need.
Senior Child Care Officer in charge of the Board’s adoption and foster care programme Colin St Hill told the launch that the board was hoping to move from 14 to 20 approved foster parents by the end of the year.
“At present we have only 14 approved foster parents and obviously that is not enough,” St Hill said. “So we are looking to increase these numbers. I am hoping that by the end of the year we would have at least 20 foster parents. Residential care is really not the ideal place for children because it is a group setting. Children benefit more from individual attention.”
The theme of this year’s Child Month is: Celebrating the Champion in You.
Jordan said that throughout the month, all Barbadian children, not only those who are wards of the board, would be celebrated.
She said she hoped that during this month, parents, teachers, the church and other organisations, redouble their efforts to ensure the total development of all children.
“We all have an obligation to ensure that all children are raised in a nurturing environment. In an environment which sees them being developed in a holistic way; being developed physically, socio-emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. We must note though, that neglect of any one area will contribute to the development of an unbalanced child,” she said.
Among several activities planned to commemorate the month are a National Children’s Service on May 10 at the New Dimensions Ministries, Barbarees Hill, St Michael.