This is being written to clear the misinformation that has been in the news this past week, which is purported to come from the Childcare & Protection Agency (CPA); the statement that “children in institutional care dropped by 25 percent.” This is a misrepresentation and not from CPA. What was presented is that the number of children in state residential care institutions – the Drop-in-Center, Mahaica Children’s Home and the Sophia Care Center is now approximately 165 children which signify a reduction since towards the end of 2015 there were over 200 children in these three (3) institutions.
At the beginning of 2016, with the presentation of the CPA statistical information, the figure of the total number of children in residential care was given as approximately 700. This figure is the sum total of the children in all the residential care institutions in the country. The number of child residential care institutions in the country is twenty-three (23) of which twenty (20) are privately owned and managed and the three (3) being state care centers as mentioned above.
There was a mix-up in the presentation of the news information relayed and the CPA had asked the news agency to correct after the first airing of the news. However, this was not done and the misinformation continues to be published.
Further, I wish to state that the reduction of the children in the state care centers is due to the renewed effort of reunification of children to biological families and the development of the foster care programme.
The policy of the agency is the promotion of family based care and institutional care as a last resort. If there is an alternative other than admission to an institution that option will be taken since children are better served in a family and the agency has a programme of the deinstitutionalization of children.
The agency is appealing to persons to come and register to be foster parents. There is a screening process and initial training followed by ongoing training and support to ensure the children continued wellbeing.
Director of Children
Services & Head of
Childcare & Protection
Editor’s note: The information was disseminated by the Government Information Agency (GINA) to all media houses in Guyana