We look forward to the Christmas holidays because it’s the only time that many of us get to spend with family. We enjoy the food, the laughter, the gifts and just the joy of sharing that special time with the people we love.
For the past ten years, the Child Protection and Family Service Agency (CPFSA) has tried to extend this warmth to children who are in state care, with the Nurture a Child for Christmas programme. In this season of giving, the CPFSA is asking you to open your home to a child in State care.
BUZZ spoke with Rochelle Dixon, public relations manager at the (CPFSA) about the initiative.
BUZZ: Why did the CPFSA start this initiative?
Rochelle Dixon: The Agency recognises that the family is the preferred place for children to thrive holistically, and sees State care as the last resort. Hence, the initiative was started primarily for children in State care to experience the love and joy of spending time in nurturing family settings, mainly during the holidays and on weekends.
BUZZ: How have families been responding to it?
RD: We are currently in the process of receiving applications which are currently being processed. We have received a few applications, and we hope the numbers will increase by Friday, November 29 at 4:00 p.m., which is the deadline. Last year, we received close to 200 applications, which were processed, and as such, the children were placed with families accordingly. This year, we are expecting the same level of response as in previous years.
BUZZ: What is the process for anyone wanting to nurture a child this christmas?
RD: You make a request to participate in the programme, and an application form is supplied. An interview is held with you and members of your family. Then you submit supporting documents; these are your two references, two passport size photos and a valid ID. A background check and a home and community check is done to assess the environment in which the child will be residing. The approval process takes between 14 to 20 days.
BUZZ: Why should families nurture a child this Christmas?
RD: Christmas is a special time of year, where friends and families gather to embrace the love and merriment of the season. We want as many children in State care as possible to be a part of this wonderful experience. We are appealing to persons who are able to host a child for the holiday period to do so. Make a positive difference in a child’s life this Christmas, because some of these children have no families outside of the protection system.