Ho, Oct. 01, GNA - the Department of Social Welfare of the Ministry of Gender and Social protection has held a training session for 26 foster parents from across the Region.
The trainees, of diverse professions and from both sexes, have volunteered to work with the Department in creating family environments for children and the vulnerable.
Mrs Stella Mawutor, Regional Director of the Department told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the end of the two-day training in Ho, that a pool of foster parents in the Region was required, “who are ready to support”.
She said the initiative was in collaboration with the International Justice Mission as a national program towards a new care model, graduating the concept of institutional care into foster parenting.
“The emphasis now is providing children with family-based care instead of institutional care. Children need one on one parenting to help them grow up into meaningful entities in society.
“The caregivers are few while the children are many in orphanage homes, and they lack direct attention and emotional connection to adult figures,” she said, mentioning that the foster care concept had been successful in other countries and thus was being considered by the Government.
“People genuinely love children and they want to provide care. Foster care has come to stay, and residential homes should be short-term. Children need bonding and lots of them have been disadvantaged from institutional care,” the Director added.
The training sensitized parents on the importance of having children grow up in families and also trained them to identify and respond to the special needs of the children.
Applicants are scrutinized, background and medical checks conducted, and recommendation letters from notable members of society are produced, after which they would be certified by a Regional Foster Care Placement Committee.
The committee then places children with parents that fit, and the certificate for care is revised every three years.
“The Committee would study your home, your affection, and tolerance among others,” Mrs Mawutor said and added that applicants are taught to be patient and are equipped to be better parents and genuinely appreciative.
“This is a life skill that cannot be taken away from anyone. It will help enhance parenting in the communities. They are taught child development and what to expect, the red flags, and positive discipline,” she said
She advised parents to do more for their children and not let them struggle while appealing to children to be obedient as their parents had the best of their interest.
Madam Evelyn Agbese, an Assemblymember in the Central Tongu District who was among the trainees, told GNA she had been a foster parent for the past eight years and had signed up for the training to acquire new knowledge.
She noted that the “vivid” teachings of the facilitators had made her work possible.
Patrice Robertson, an African American living in the Ho, who also signed up for the initiative, called on foster parents to “open up our hearts and our doors”, adding “our children need us”.