Residents of the Cayman Islands interested in becoming foster parents are invited to attend a foster care orientation session at the Grand Old House on Thursday evening.
Those who attend the orientation session can expect to learn about how fostering works in the Cayman Islands, the types of fostering options, and about the types of children in need of foster parents.
“Sometimes a child will only need a place of safety for a couple of hours, sometimes they need somewhere safe for years,” said Juliet Garricks, a social worker with the Department of Children and Family Services. “Short-term, long-term, emergency, respite, these are some of the categories of foster carer we need. At the assessment stage, the foster parent states what type of fostering they feel able to offer.”
Sometimes fostering can lead to adoption, and sometimes it is a temporary assignment.
“Foster parents can provide the stability a child needs, but if it is a very young child, and if it seems that it will be a long term placement and if it’s appropriate, a permanent solution such as adoption is preferable,” Ms. Garricks said.
Every attempt is made to reunite a child with his or her birth family if reunification is in the child’s best interest. However, if the Department of Children and Family Services and the courts determine that reunification is not a viable option, long-term plans for the child’s care are instituted.
Ms. Garricks said there are currently 30 children placed with foster families in the Cayman Islands. She said there is an increasing need for foster families who will offer homes to teenagers and children with learning or physical disabilities.
“People may be hesitant at the idea of caring for these children, but foster parents are offered 24 hour support and regular training,” Ms. Garricks said.
Ms. Garricks also noted that juvenile offenders or children who are known to run away are not placed with foster families.
While foster parents in some countries are paid for their service, there is no such payment made in the Cayman Islands. The government does, however, offer a small stipend for the upkeep of each child, and healthcare, school lunches, preschool fees and a clothing allowance are also provided.
The foster care orientation session will be held at the Grand Old House on Thursday, May 5 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Those interested in attending should RSVP to book a space by contacting the foster care and adoption team at 949-0290 or emailing [email protected]