[www.inewsguyana.com] – This year, the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA), celebrating five years as an agency has achieved much, having focused mainly on increased inter-professional and inter-agency collaboration in the provision of services for vulnerable children, and family assistance and support to reduce the number of children in need of alternative care during the year.
Separation of children from their biological families was done as a last resort, but in spite of the best efforts there were approximately 520 children for whom the state had to find alternative care besides the home. At present there are more than 800 children in residential care with approximately 250 in state care centres and the remaining 500 are in 19 privately managed children’s homes and orphanages.
Guyana’s laws specify the mandate of the CPA, so no child can be admitted into any institutional home, without the prior approval of the agency.
The agency continued to operate its 24- hour hotline services and by the end of September, it responded to 2, 181 child abuse reports and placed 262 in alternative care arrangement.
A total of 153 applications were made for adoption of which 121 were presented to the board for approval. Five cases were denied and one case is pending. There were 58 cases of domestic adoption, 48 cases of Guyanese living abroad and 14 with international non-Guyanese. The CPA facilitates cases of adoption through the adoption board.
Government has been promoting foster care with 203 children within that programme. This year training was provided to 45 new parents. This was done together with the 126 other standing foster parents who are found in the communities of Linden, Georgetown, and East and West Coast Berbice.
The CPA also partners with a Non-Governmental Organisation to provide care for families to ensure that all achieve parental skills. This training is in preparation for re-unification for parents that includes 20 children who are identified and awaiting this progress with their biological parents.
The interventions have been timely and the agency is making progress as it continues to advocate and support strong families and good family life.
To facilitate permanent plans for foster care where it is not possible for children to be united with their biological parents, nine cases were referred for adoption. Efforts were also made for children to visit parents who were incarcerated, and the agency sought to improve the skills of persons who were in foster care so they can be employed.
The halfway home in Sophia is meant for children who were in institutional care, to allow them to achieve independence. The law provides for children to be held in state care and some have done exceedingly well at the CXC examinations. They are now pursuing higher studies with undertaking computer studies at the University of Guyana and another pursuing a teacher’s certificate.
The CPA was able to provide parental education to 3,153 vulnerable families and 1,448 children were prevented from being separated. Child Link has assisted with much needed support for home based services to enable children to remain with their biological families. The organisation was also able to visit children and work with them in their home support areas.
CPA also partners with NGOs and the one stop shop initiative. The One Stop Shop Child Advocacy Centre was able to provide care for 50 sexual abuse cases. [Extracted and modified from GINA]