Black Immigrant Daily News
More Jamaicans are being encouraged to open their homes and hearts to children in State care by becoming foster parents.
Placement Coordinator at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Taneka Cassanova-Durrant, made the appeal as the agency prepares to mark National Foster Care Week from February 12 to 18 under the theme ‘Building Resilience through Empowerment’.
Currently, there are 4,491 children in State care, 1,247 of which are a part of the Foster Care Programme.
“I just want to encourage persons to foster a child if you are able to do so because your intervention can mean a world of difference and can change the life of a child in a positive way. Help us to provide that nurturing home environment that our children are so deserving of,” urged Cassanova-Durrant in an interview.
She noted that, as the agency “charged with the mandate of safeguarding the best interest of Jamaica’s children who are deemed to be in need of care and protection, the CPFSA recognises the importance of a family environment as the most suitable place for a child to be raised”.
National Foster Care Week will begin with church services across the CPFSA regions on February 11 and 12, and empowerment sessions will be held islandwide during the week and beyond.
Activities for the period will be highlighted by an appreciation ceremony on February 15 to recognise stalwarts who continue to offer care, love and support to children through the Foster Care Programme.
The public will have an opportunity to select an outstanding foster parent. Nominees will be posted on the CPFSA’s social media platforms, representing each region, and persons are being encouraged to participate by liking the posts.
Another feature of the week will be the recognition of the top-three CPFSA foster care officers, based on the total number of placements during 2022.
Cassanova-Durrant said that to become a foster parent in Jamaica, one must be an adult between the ages of 25 to 65 years old, in good legal and moral standing.
She pointed out that consideration is given to persons over 65 years if they are related to the child, or in good health. Persons in this age cohort are required to supply a medical record.
Interested persons must have suitable accommodations for a child, be gainfully employed or have a steady stream of income and provide two references from a Notary Public.
They should also provide two certified passport photographs, submit a police record and be willing to facilitate home assessments by CPFSA’s children officers and ensure that the home is suitable and ready for placement.
Persons who are interested in becoming foster parents are advised to contact the CPFSA office in their parish or visit the agency’s website at www.childprotection.gov.jm or social media pages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @ cpfsajm.
The Foster Care Programme, which falls under the Living in Family Environment (LIFE) initiative, allows non-biological parents to care for children in State care, where they are supervised by the agency.
This is different from adoption, which involves the transference of parental rights from biological to adoptive parents.