Sat | May 28, 2022

Foster parenting a rewarding experience for Maxine

Returning resident urges others to come on board

Published:Monday | January 17, 2022 | 12:06 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Maxine’s parents had been fostering three children for about three years until her mother and father died a year apart.

She returned from Canada to Jamaica and made the decision to continue to foster the children as a means of continuing her parents’ mission.

Furthermore, her two children were adults, and she knew the kids needed to continue receiving love, care, and parental support.

She recalled that the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), through its social workers, provided grief counselling to her and the children during their time of loss.

Maxine did the necessary paperwork, was deemed fit, and has been fostering them for six years now.

Of the three kids, one is left. One is happily married, and the other reconnected with his biological family, and his grandmother has taken him to the United States.

The third, a 21-year-old, is enrolled in university.

“It has been quite rewarding. They are loving and sweet kids,” Maxine said.

Maxine has also opened her home to temporarily house children in emergency cases being investigated by the police.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

She explained that the sole foster child living with her has also been instrumental in offering emotional support to the children who come in through the revolving door.

On Wednesday, she was among 60 foster parents who participated in a one-day training workshop aimed at strengthening their capacity to deliver therapeutic care to children who are victims of human trafficking.

“I once kept a Jamaican boy who was trafficked to another country and then brought to me. I feel so much more prepared now following that workshop as it was informative and opened my eyes to a number of things,” Maxine said.

According to the National Children’s Registry, 17 suspected incidents of child trafficking were reported in 2019, twetny-three in 2020, and nine up to June 2021.

“Jamaicans need to understand that trafficking comes in different forms. It is not only about a child being in another country against his or her will. If a mother has a child at home and the bills are being paid from the child being sexually abused, that’s trafficking,” she explained.

Denise, a foster parent of one, also heaped praises on the CPFSA for organising the workshop.

“I learnt a lot from the sessions and also got a better understanding of the different categories of trafficking. I always thought that trafficking meant a child was being exploited in another country,” Denise told The Gleaner.

Meanwhile, Maxine used the opportunity to urge Jamaicans who have the resources to consider fostering a child as a family home environment is far more nurturing than a child-care facility with scores of children.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com