Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Foster and adoptive care givers will over the next four days, learn how to better parent children who are behaviorally and emotionally challenged.
The training session is organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Development and aims to help foster and adoptive families to understand the dynamics of the problems that the children may have experienced.
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Natalie Fahie-Smith in remarks at the opening ceremony yesterday, stated that there are 32 children in foster care and that there are many reasons why children end up in the foster care system.
Mrs. Smith said, “Perhaps the stresses of life cause parents to become abusive. Children could be taken as a result of losing their parents through sickness or tragedy. Parents could become substance abusers, addicted to drugs or mentally challenged. Maybe they are just no longer in a financial position to provide for their children.”
Mrs. Smith paid tribute to foster care and adoptive parents and stated, “Because of persons like you who come to their aid by giving of yourself through becoming foster care or adoptive parents, hope is returned to their lives. I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to you for your contribution, commitment and dedication, and for many of you, persistence. Without you this programme would not be possible.”
The Deputy Permanent Secretary also encouraged the parents to fully participate in the the training exercise. She added, “Each child has a right to a safe childhood and as foster and adoptive parents you are uniquely placed to make a positive impact, because for many of these children their tomorrow begins today with you.”
As part of the opening ceremony, students of the Althea Scatiffe Primary School inspired the group with their rendition of the song “Dear Mr. Jesus”.
The training session commenced November 9 at the Red Cross conference room and will conclude on November 13. Sessions are held from 8:30 a.m. to noon daily.
The Social Development Department is committed to providing the population of the Virgin Islands with effective social services that will empower, promote and enrich their quality of life, while fostering individual independence.