The Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) has facilitated the placement of 66 children into foster families this year, in keeping with its goal to reduce the number of children in institutionalised care.
This brings the total to 220 children – 109 girls and 111 boys with 131 foster parents.
In addition, 19 children were reunited with their biological families and three were adopted by their foster parents, the CC&PA stated in its annual review.
Eight children were successfully placed with foster parents in Regions One and Nine; nine attained independent living, while 39 formally left the foster care system. Some 35 cases were reviewed and 43 foster care applicants were also screened and approved.
Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud, who recently installed the Adoption Board, said the Board has started clearing the backlog of adoption cases.
“They are doing it in batches of six to eight cases every time they meet so it’s an ongoing process and I think they have two to three meetings since they have been installed,” she told the Department of Public Information.
The CC&PA’s mentorship programme also received six new applications. This programme recruits mature adults to mentor children above the age of 16, who are ageing-out of State care.
However, in 2021, the CC&PA plans to continue efforts to lessen the institutionalisation of children. The CC&PA aims to place at least 40 children into non-biological and biological care during the first quarter.
Foster families will also be recruited, and the foster care and mentorship programmes will be promoted through awareness sessions and partnerships with faith-based organisations to increase the core list in every region.
Further, the CC&PA plans to network with non-governmental organisations to assist with the necessary psychosocial support for children in the foster care system, especially those in the outer areas in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine.
More importantly, the agency will continue to secure permanent placements for children in foster care by means of reintegration with biological family and adoption or legal guardianship.
With regard to international adoptions, Dr Persaud said these were halted as Guyana must meet the obligations of The Hague Adoption Convention to which it is a signatory. That Convention seeks to protect children from exploitation, trafficking and abuse.
“We are trying to be in line with The Hague Convention. The legislation has been amended; the Attorney General’s office has been working very closely with us. So, that will go to Parliament and so, until that legislation is passed by the Parliament, international adoption will be on hold.”
The Ministry, through the CC&PA, is mandated to actively monitor policies regarding adoption, custody, guardianship and maintenance of the nation’s children.