FOSTER CARERS APPRECIATED FOR ROLE IN ANGUILLA

anguillian
By anguillian December 5, 2014 08:44

 

 

Foster Carers and Children

Foster Carers and Children

A fairly large group of persons in Anguilla, who have opened their homes to a number of children as foster carers, have been lauded for their dedicated service. At the same time, however, they are being urged to return the youngsters to their birth parents in good time to preserve the family bond and love.
The foster carers – responsible women and men – were shown appreciation at a cocktail party held at Government House on Thursday, November 27, in conjunction with the Department of Social Development. The event was hosted by Acting Governor Mr Stanley Reid and Mrs Dawn Reid.

Ms Brittany Christopher-Harris, Adjunct Social Worker, gave the welcome remarks. She said foster parents played a significant role in the lives of foster children until they could be reunited or placed in a more permanent setting. “Without you, many of our children would not have a place where they can feel safe and secure,” she went on. “We now invite you, our wonderful foster parents, to take a bow – and we thank you for all your extraordinary support and invaluable contribution you have provided to our children.”

Mrs. Sonia  Skellekie

Mrs. Sonia
Skellekie

Acting Governor Stanley Reid

Acting Governor
Stanley Reid

Mrs Sonia Skellekie, Senior Social Worker, Family & Social Services, said in part: “The welfare and safety of children and families is paramount and the Department of Social Development is mandated to lead the charge of safeguarding all children and families in Anguilla. In this task, we received invaluable assistance from all across the island. The Department of Social Development applauds thirty-one carers who are at present offering a family to thirty children, ranging in ages from four years to seventeen years. These children needed a temporary alternative family for various reasons. This [temporary arrangement] has been from about two to fifteen years.”

She noted that the department had been assisting in having the foster children returned to their original homes but that appeared to be an uphill task for all concerned. She stressed that children had a right to a family and the department strongly encouraged permanency for each child in care. She observed that the event provided an opportunity for parents, children and foster parents to meet, greet and otherwise associate with each other. She urged them to establish a link whereby they would remain connected.

Ms. Brittany Christopher-Harris

Ms. Brittany Christopher-Harris

Mr. Sanford Richardson

Mr. Sanford Richardson

Mr Reid, the Acting Governor, observed that it was undisputed that there were families in Anguilla undergoing certain challenges. “This has been the case in the past, it is the case now, and, regrettably, it will be the case in the future,” he pointed out. “Invariably, these challenges place children in troubling situations which can best be addressed by offering them opportunities to experience care and safety.

“Government is constrained in its ability to offer care and safety required to adequately respond to the needs of all such children. Out of this is born the need for foster carers. Foster carers offer an opportunity for at risk children to experience security and to be nurtured in a family environment. Persons who carry out this valuable role must indeed be commended. Foster carers have opened their homes to children and, by doing so, they have agreed to take on the challenges of taking care of young persons in today’s ever evolving world.

“This evening’s reception is the Governor’s small way of saying thank you to persons in Anguilla who have decided to give of themselves to ensure the wellbeing of children. It no doubt often appears that your contribution goes unnoticed and while it may very well be that you do not crave acknowledgment, I am happy to be part of this occasion which recognises your contribution to the social development of Anguilla. This gathering of the various stakeholders in the foster care programme is indeed an occasion for celebration and I welcome you all and encourage you to enjoy yourselves.”

Mr Sanford Richardson, Commissioner of Social Development, saw the event as “a time to relax, mingle, reminisce, and to foster and strengthen new and existing relationships.” He took the opportunity to call for applause for the hard working staff of the department. To the foster carers he said: “Some of you have bent over backwards; some of you have given your heart, your all, so that one child, maybe two children, can have a better opportunity in life – and you are doing it for little or nothing in terms of financial remuneration, and at that in itself deserves five minutes of applause.”
Mr Richardson continued: “A lot of people do not understand that it is a major sacrifice that you are making which we in the department know about. We at times feel very badly for the great service that we are asking you to render, and we are not in position to compensate you to the extent that you should be compensated.”

The Commissioner told the biological parents that it was for the children’s good why they were put in foster care. “The idea behind foster care and alternate care is really temporary, but we want to ensure that children get back to their biological parents,” he stated. “The temporary arrangement has become very permanent and that ought not to be the case. Tonight provides an additional opportunity for you to ensure that that relationship is again strengthened between the foster carers, and the biological parents, towards reunification – getting the children back with their biological parents.”
Other persons who participated in the event were Mrs Daphne Hodge, Director Family & Social Services; Mekaile Browne, a foster child who performed a dance; Amethyst Davis, a prospective foster carer who gave a special presentation including a poetry; and Catherine Registe, a Social Worker, who delivered the Vote of Thanks.

anguillian
By anguillian December 5, 2014 08:44

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