Several potential foster parents from the Brac had the opportunity to meet with government officials last week to learn more about how they can help vulnerable young children.

According to a press release, the Department of Children and Family Services began its drive to recruit foster parents in Cayman Brac with a meeting at the District Administration building on Feb. 9.

The information session, “Open Your Heart, Open Your Home,” was led by Adoption and Foster Care coordinator Nicole Carter and social workers Juliette Garricks and Lois Webb, and attracted nine people from across the island.

Ms. Carter previously noted the important role that foster parents play.

“Foster parents will forever hold a place in the hearts of the children they care for because they demonstrate love and kindness to children that are at their most vulnerable,” she said. “They are the unsung heroes of our community.”

Hillside Church pastor Audley Scott, a former deputy district commissioner for Cayman Brac who was among those in attendance, said, “I was there principally to hear all about the foster care process and what qualities the Department is looking for in potential foster parents.”

Mr. Scott left with several foster parent application forms and pamphlets to keep in his office for members of his congregation.

“I’ve always been interested in becoming a foster parent and was very interested in what the presenters had to say about my eligibility,” said Jacquline Chantiloupe, who said she welcomed the session as a chance to talk face-to-face with foster care experts.

“I am certain I could give a loving foster home to a child in need … and will work towards becoming a foster parent in the future,” she said.

The session gave practical details of what the local foster care process involves and invited those ready to sign on to take the initial application steps. There was also a question-and-answer segment.

The presenters outlined the different types of care, which include respite, emergency and short- and long-term care. They also discussed the reasons some children need foster care, what it takes to be an effective foster parent, the challenges foster parents may face, access, contact and visits between the foster child, siblings and their birth parents, preference when making placements to keep siblings together whenever possible, and what kind of help foster parents receive.

A press release states that the initiative is an important aspect of the protective service interventions provided by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“Having identified the need for this service in Cayman Brac, we are seeking to develop, grow and expand on our ability to care for children using families from within your community to assist children who require care and protection away from their home,” said Department Director Felicia Robinson.

“Rather than take a child or siblings from the Brac, we would much rather keep them here with supportive foster parents in the same community where they can remain in the same school and be with their friends.”

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