By: Curtis Morton
Charlestown—Nevis—It was a first of its kind, as the Social Services Department hosted an appreciation dinner for foster parents on Nevis.
The event was held at the popular Riviere’s House restaurant, located at Government Road.
Miss Anesta Maynard, the Ag. Supervisor of the Family Services Division and her staff, came in for high praise for the work they have been doing in the foster care program.
Miss Maynard for her part thanked the foster parents who have come forward to assist with the care of children, who have been determined to be in need of such care and noted that even though it was a difficult task, those who have come forward have done an excellent job thus far.
She noted that foster care is not new, as many persons would have been brought up by grandparents and other relatives.
She stated that at present there are twenty children involved in the program. Some are in ‘Kinship’ care as they are currently living with relatives and the others are with persons who are not related to them.
She stated that her Department is working closely with the Education Department in the best interest of the children.
Mrs. Grace Manners who is in charge of the single parents group of the Department then conducted a session known as ‘DID YOU KNOW?’ This involved her presentation of words quoted by some of the foster children who were interviewed and who spoke glowingly about their foster parents, without their specific identification being revealed.
One stated: “I love her very much. She teaches me how to cook, clean and what is right from wrong. She lets me visit my sisters.”
Director of the Social Services Department, Miss Sandra Maynard in delivering brief remarks, noted that she could speak from experience as she is one of the foster parents who has led out by example in talking care of a child.
She referred to the occasion as a special one, as the event had been in the planning stage for some time now.
She singled out Mrs. Eren Hanley for her work in organizing the event and Miss Anesta Maynard for her efforts in leading out with the program. She also heartily thanked the other foster parents who had ‘stepped up to the plate.’
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, spoke on behalf of the Hon. Hazel Brandy –Williams, Junior Minister of Social Development, who was unavoidably absent.
He referred to the event as a unique one.
He pointed out that the United Nations had declared May 15th as the International day of families and the month of May was recognized as the month of Foster parents. The event was planned bearing this in mind.
He stated: ‘The contributions that foster parents make are significant when one considers that the family is the basic institution of any society.’
He noted that the family is vital to the survival of the society in terms of educating; disciplining; training; and transmitting the culture of the society to the children.
He thanked the foster parents for the critical role that they are playing.
The featured speaker for the evening, was Pastor Londy Esdaille who is a product of foster care and despite not having an easy early life, successfully attained degrees in Accounting and Economics. She was ordained as a Pastor in 2013.
She commenced her address with a poem entitled ‘WHO CARES?’ This referred to the importance of a foster parent who came to the aid of a child who was in need.
She noted that the same way people foster and nurture plants, so too children need to be nurtured and the parents need to draw out the best from the children. She thanked them for providing a stable family and secure home for children in need. She pointed out that sometimes the child in foster care is resented by the other children in the family and that makes the role of the foster parents even more difficult.
She stated that the children need not only clothing, food and shelter but that they need love and need to know that they will not be abused.
She congratulated and thanked the foster parents for the wonderful job that they are doing.
In referring to the bible, she quoted a text in the book of Matthew when Jesus said: “In as much as you have done it on to one of these my little ones, you have done it unto me.”
The proceedings were ably chaired by Mrs. Eren Hanley of the Family Services Division who quoted Rita F. Piersen as saying: ‘Every child deserves a champion. An adult who will never give upon them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they could ever be.”
She noted that foster parents should never underestimate the role they play in being that champion.
The foster parents were then treated to a sumptuous dinner and each one received a gift token, complements of the Social Services Department.