By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – There are currently over 800 children living in institutional care while some 208 others are presently growing under the care of 121 Foster Parents.
These statistics were released on Saturday (December 7) by Human Services and Social Security Minister Jennifer Webster while delivering remarks at the first ever appreciation ceremony for foster parents, marking the close of Foster Care Month (November).
According to Webster, when the Foster Care Programmme started in 2010 there were 64 children in foster care, the majority being girls and 27 parents to care for these youngsters.
She added that in 2012 figures increased and there were 150 children in foster care with 89 such parents.
This year, of the 121 parents that now care for 208 children, 118 of them receive financial assistance through the Foster Care Programmme.
The Human Services Minister on this note urged that adults volunteer more in this regard. “Child care and child protection is everyone’s business” she told the gathering.
Webster said the Government has increased funding over the years to support social services and more specifically foster care.
Minister Webster registered her disappointment however, with the number of children who are forced to live away from their families because of neglect. “Adults must accept their responsibility and stop failing children, we welcome foster care because it has filled the gap, but it is certainly not the first option… the reality is too far from the ideal, too many children are abandoned and neglected.”
She told the gathering of foster parents that the Government values their dedication and commitment and as such embarked on this effort to recognize their outstanding contributions.
“I understand that foster care could be challenging but the benefits are certainly rewarding” she added.
She underscored however, the importance of each child being cared for by their own family and nurtured into adulthood.