Human Development Services seeks foster homes for Belizean children
Friday, March 10th, 2017
Every year the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation runs its ‘Give your Heart to a Child’ national campaign. The project aims at recruiting foster or permanent homes for children who are living in children’s homes or abusive households. In San Pedro Town, the office of Human Development Services has been advocating for this initiative, and is once again reaching out to the community for their support.
Speaking with Adan Kay, Human Development Officer for San Pedro, Kay says that most institutions housing children keep increasing in population. According to him, many of these children have been abandoned by their relatives and spend most of their lives in such institutions. “We have different options how people can become involved and make a change in the lives of these children,” said Kay. “For instance, we are looking for families that would probably take a child with them for the weekend or during certain holidays and share their time with them.” Kay said that the database for foster homes in San Pedro is very small and he hopes it can increase this year. They need families who are willing to foster teenagers, siblings, children with special needs, and babies and younger children at times.
There are various types of foster care available through the office at Human Development Services. “There is an option known as Respite, in which a family takes a child into their home just for the weekend , the summer, Easter, and even Christmas,” said Kay. “We also need families for what we call an Emergency Care service. This happens when children are removed from their parents without notice and need to be hosted immediately, and for a short time.”
The other options deal with short and long-term care. “In the case when we are trying to finalize a placement for a child, a foster home can host them from one to six months or from one to three years,” explained Kay. He indicated that in the past, there have been families and individuals who have been willing to host a child until Human Services can find them a permanent placement. “However, if during this time, the family has established a bond with the child, then there is the option for adoption,” he said.
The requirements to foster or adopt a child include being a mature individual, couples over the age of 21 and persons willing to make a short or long term commitment to a child. Kay mentioned that it is important to get more families in the community involved in this cause. Many children across the country’s children homes, sometimes never experience the love and safety of a home. In such cases, the institutions needs to prepare them so that when they leave, they can survive on their own.
Kay urges anyone interested to contact any of the offices countrywide for more information. Interested parties on the island may visit his office on Pescador Drive or call 206-2645 during normal working hours.