Archdiocese, Children’s Authority to collaborate on children’s Homes

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Archdiocese, Children’s Authority to collaborate on children’s Homes

There is a need for greater collaboration between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port of Spain and the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate safe spaces where children in care can become well-adjusted, contributing members of society.

This was the consensus from a recent meeting between representatives of the two organisations led by Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon and the Authority’s acting Director Rhonda Gregoire-Roopchan according to a joint release May 2, 2023.

The release outlined “the first goal” would be to reintegrate children with their families where it is safe, possible, appropriate and in the best interest of the child.

Gregoire-Roopchan noted that, “care involves the whole person and goes beyond the physical housing of children.”

She expressed that children thrive best in a family environment, and this must be central to the approach of residential and alternative care.

The Children’s Authority and the Archdiocese, in collaboration with the 14 independent children’s Care Homes under the management of Catholic denominational boards and religious orders have embarked on a joint effort to promote greater support to vulnerable children at Children’s Homes.

Caring for vulnerable children, the Archbishop underscored, is one of the very important, sacred duties of any civilisation, and is consistent with the role of the Church in society.

He noted that the Church has been promoting care to children through several independent Catholic-run Homes for over 150 years.

The release mentioned Archbishop Gordon called on the State to do more to support the Homes in their effort to meet the growing needs of the children in their care.

Those needs, he emphasised, go beyond housing and accommodation; they include education and training, recreational outlets, psychological and medical care, access to counselling, trained and competent institutional staff and a more sensible and sensitive approach to how children are transitioned.

Discussions, the release said, also addressed the progress made by the independent Catholic Care Homes in achieving licensure.

Eleven of 14 Catholic-run Care Homes have now achieved compliance and another three are nearing completion.

Also, on the agenda was alternative care and the need for persons and families to embrace Kinship Care or Foster Care for children who are unable to remain with their birth families.

“The Church sees this as a Christian duty of care,” the release said.

READ the full release here.

Photo by Jess Zoerb on Unsplash