Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Watch: Teens, special needs children need homes too

Children's Authority Chairman Hanif Benjamin addresses media at a conference on September 20, 2019 on Foster Care and Adoption Month.

Children's Authority Chairman Hanif Benjamin addresses media at a conference on September 20, 2019 on Foster Care and Adoption Month.

Of some 40 children's homes in Trinidad and Tobago, over 600 children are waiting to find permanent homes with loving families.

On average, just eight children are adopted each year . 

But, with work being done to clear the waiting list of persons waiting for adoptions, Children's Authority Chairman Hanif Benjamin is hopeful this will help children in need of homes - especially teenagers and children with special needs to be placed in permanent homes. 

Speaking at a media conference on Friday, Benjamin appealed to citizens to come forward as foster care parents and embrace adopting children of all ages, stating that there should be no reason why persons are afraid to adopt or foster teenagers. 

 

He noted that most success stories of children being adopted and coming through the foster care system are actually teenagers. 

"With a guiding hand a loving hug, they change almost automatically. So I want to encourage Trinidad and Tobago that our teenagers just need a guiding hand, you know. Someone to just rest their hand on their should and say you know what son, or you know what daughter, we got you."

There are just 36 approved foster parents in T&T, while there is a waiting list of around 62 persons seeking to adopt. 

The Authority is currently engaged in a drive to clear the backlog of those adoption cases, with attempts being made to locate the parents of children residing in children's homes as the youngsters would not be eligible for adoption if parents do not give up full rights and responsibility.

Melina Humphrey, Adoption Manager at the Children's Authority, explained that in instances where parents may come forward, do not care for the child but want to retain their parental rights, the court can get involved and relinquish these rights and free the children for adoption.

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