(A) Foster Care
Foster Care can be defined as the act of rearing a child who is not one’s biological or adopted child. It requires one to love, care for and share with someone else’s child in the same way one is expected to do for and with a natural child.
The Welfare Division utilizes Foster Care as one of its programmes aimed at achieving the objective of providing a better quality of life for children who have been abandoned, orphaned, rejected or suffer any form of abuse and are in need of a substitute family.
Procedure to become a Foster Parent:
- Application made at the Welfare Division
- Investigation of prospective foster parent/home done by Welfare Officer
- Child/children matched to home
- Placement of child/children
- Supervision of foster home done by Welfare Officer
Adoption is the process through which persons accept total parental responsibility of children who are not biologically theirs through a Court of Law. The adoption of children should be regarded as a service for the child and not for the persons wishing to acquire and care for the child.
Procedure for Adoption:
- Identification of child
- Attorney of choice chosen
- Request of *Guardian-ad-Litem Report from Social Services by Attorney
(*Home study assessment of adoptive parents/family and child to be adopted)
- Court hearing and decision
See the following document for the process in applying for Adoption Order
(C) Child Abuse Prevention
Child Abuse refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes any of the following:
- Physical and psychological abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;
- Any act by deeds or works which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;
- Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care; or
- Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.
The Child Abuse Prevention Unit aims at protecting all children in Dominica from all forms of abuse. The Unit also supports abused victims by providing the necessary treatment programs such as counseling, psychological assessments and other services, such as financial assistance. The treatment programs are offered not only to the abused child but also to the family members.
See here (pdf 120kb) for child abuse statistics for the period 1985-2009.
DOMINICA CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEM
GENERAL GUIDELINES IN DEALING WITH ACTUAL OR SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
REMEMBER: The welfare of children is of paramount importance
Assistance to children with behavioral problems
The Division provides therapeutic and other services to families dealing with children who have behavioral problems.
- Family brings child/children in to Office
- Child/children referred for counselling
- Counsellor gives appointment
- Ongoing counselling sessions