Non-government foster care programme launched

The Family Life Ministries (FLM) has been working for 13 years to broker a partnership with Canada-based Nairn Family Homes to help introduce a non-government foster-care programme for Jamaican children in need.

Now their hard work has paid off.

On Wednesday, the groups announced the launch of For The Child Foster Care Programme at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.

For The Child Foster Care Programme seeks to assist the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) by placing children in loving homes with responsible and committed guardians. 

FLM will provide professional counselling, coaching, life skills development and funding support. The approach will be methodical and in line with proven best practices for successful outcomes in foster parenting, FLM noted.

Family Life Ministries CEO, Dr Barry Davidson, said the programme would kick start with 15 children who are wards of the state.

Davidson said the children would be chosen by the state who run the facilities but the foster parents would be chosen by the (FLM) out of the church community.

“We are first looking to the church to see if we can find suitable foster parents. We are thinking, if you are against abortion then can you provide an alternative,” he said.

Davidson said the screening exercise to ferret suitable parents would not be relaxed simply because they attended church.

“We are not taking a relaxed approach. What we need are suitable foster parents. We will visit homes, speak to neighbours and ensure that every loophole has been plugged. We know there are paedophiles in the church,” he said.

The Nairn Family Homes is the brainchild of Dr Phillip Bruce and his wife Alice who have devoted their lives to assisting children in need in Ontario.

Bruce spoke to the need for partnership in the foster care system in Jamaica during the launch and addressed the need for the ‘Private Foster Care’ model to be utilised as the way forward.

“This is a brand of foster care that has been used in Canada for over 50 years. My wife Alice and I have been part of the system since 1977. We have worked in virtually all levels of the service to children. For us it has been a calling; certainly more than a job or career. For this reason, I have had a deep desire to share what we have learned in Canada with my homeland of Jamaica,” Bruce said.

The Bruces have taken in four children into their home and have ensured that all have become productive members of society.