Gov't, Family Life Ministries to establish privately run foster-care programme
The Government is undertaking a pilot with Family Life Ministries for the establishment of the country's first privately run foster-care programme.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green explained that under the arrangement, Family Life Ministries "will seek to do recruitment and training of prospective families, all of whom will be vetted by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA)".
He said that Family Life Ministries will be providing additional stipends for families who are recruited through the programme, "while the children will remain our children, and their progress will be tracked through continuous assessment".
The state minister made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2018/2019 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, where he announced that the Government has doubled the monthly stipend paid for the care of each foster child from $4,000 to $8,000.
He called for more persons to open their homes to foster children, noting that there are positive outcomes for children who are placed in a family environment.
He said that the CPFSA has identified close to 200 children who are ready to be placed in foster care.
Turning to adoption services, Green said that up to March of this year, a total of 217 children had been permanently placed with families - 171 locally and 46 overseas.
"This is a 26 per cent increase," he indicated, noting there is a list of qualified persons waiting for children to join their families.
"We are committed to reforming the Adoption Act to ensure that unnecessary barriers to the process of adoption are removed," he said.
Meanwhile, he said that a transitional living complex will open in June to accommodate about 40 female wards who are set to leave State care.
The facility, located on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew, was built through partnership with the United States Agency for International Development.
Green told the House that work is set to start on the refurbishing of a house in Mona, St Andrew, to serve as a transitional facility for 12 youngsters, while construction will begin in the last quarter of the financial year on another facility to house 40 males in Southfield, St Elizabeth.