Church urged to help provide safe homes for children

Church urged to help provide safe homes for children

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, ST James — State minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green has called for church groups to join the thrust to get more children into foster care.

“I encourage all of our churches, right across Jamaica… to join with us and provide homes for our children,” he said, while addressing the National Foster Care Week church service at Ocho Rios Baptist Church in St Ann on Sunday,

“We want more people with Christian principles to get involved because it is one thing to have a home, but what type of home will you provide? We prefer homes that are built on strong values, homes that are built on Christian principles — things such as kindness, teaching them respect, teaching them to love their neighbours as much as themselves, and to be honest,” he added.

Chief executive officer of Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey echoed the call for greater involvement of the Church in providing safe homes for children in State care.

“The significance of the church cannot be ignored, as, possibly, more than any other institution, you appreciate the value of family as well as the concept of substitution,” she noted.

“Unfortunately, for whatever reason, if the original family fails we have a duty as the agency responsible for the care and protection of children in Jamaica to step in, and — dare I say you too (the church), as well-meaning citizens and Christ followers — to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” Gage-Grey said.

She noted that while Jamaica has come a far way in advancing its foster care programme, more public-private partnership is needed to provide nurturing homes for children in the care and protection of the State.

“For that vision to come true, we need you (the church). We also need your friends, neighbours, co-workers to join us in giving love, inspiring hope and fostering a child,” she added.

Gage-Grey expressed gratitude to the more than 800 foster parents in Jamaica, whom she described as “capable heroes, who have opened their hearts and homes… and shown compassion to our children”.

National Foster Care Week is being observed from February 10 to February 15 under the theme ‘Give love, Inspire Hope, Foster a Child’.

For the past 13 years, the CPFSA has been observing the week to heighten public awareness about the foster care programme, in an effort to encourage more Jamaicans to take children in State care into their homes.

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