Child Care Board on child motivation
THE Child Care Board is working assiduously to empower and motivate the children within their foster care system.
According to the head of the Adoption and Foster Care Programme, Esther Bayley, this is of great importance to the Board as they try to adequately manage the children in their care. Her comments came as she spoke to the Barbados Advocate yesterday morning at the Ministry of Education, where they were staging a workshop for some of the 23 children currently within the system.
“We are having this workshop to educate, motivate and elevate the children in foster care and through our theme; we are going to be empowering them with knowledge in relation to two main areas. We are looking at sexuality including things such as sexual transmitted diseases and HIV and we will also be looking at life skills, looking at their own self-awareness, who they are, what they would like to become, and helping to build their self-esteem,” she said.
Meanwhile, giving some insight into the foster care system, Bayley explained that though a temporary arrangement, the foster family can have a profound impact on a child’s life.
“Where a child may not be able to live with their family, it is always better to place a child with a foster family than to remain in an institution. In some cases the parent’s responsibility might have been relinquished, in that the child had to be made a ward of court and in that case, the child could either be placed for fostering or adoption,” she said.
But, she lamented, quite often persons are more inclined to adopt a child younger than five years of age, which she explained often leaves older children within the children’s homes until they reach the age of 18. However, she explained that this does not mean that adoption is totally out of the question, Bayley said that with older children they often try to place them in foster homes, with the view that those persons can also adopt the children.
“For those children who have been fostered at an earlier age, and no relatives have not shown any interest in wanting to take responsibility for them or have a connection with them, it means that after a certain period of time we can help the court dispense with the parents’ rights, once the parents are not willing to assume the responsibility, or they can give us consent to place them for adoption. That clears the foster parent to go through the assessment so that they can then adopt the child,” she added.
She explained that once a child is cleared, the foster parent can apply to adopt that child, but that does not mean that the adoption will be approved, as there may be other mitigating circumstances that might prevent the foster parents from being successful.
Nevertheless, she said that generally even if adoption does not work out most of the children who stay in foster care remain with the family they are placed with, even until the placement is terminated officially when they reach the age of 18, where the Board’s responsibility ends.
At present, the Child Care Board official said, the youngest child in their system is just over four years and they go up to the age of 18.