Speaking at a recent workshop on Early Childhood Development (ECD), Fergus shared statistics on the six most prevalent types of abuses of children on island.
The director said early 2016 figures show the numbers are still increasing. In 2015, there were a total of 61 cases, which is a 18 more than 2014. The primary cases are for children in need of family support. Physical abuses and family relationship issues are second and third. Sexual and neglect follow.
Residents willing to become foster carers should contact the Department of Social Services. Before being approved, they will be put through an in depth background check both personal and for the other members of the household.
This is followed by a training session to learn techniques for dealing with children experiencing various issues and how to handle their behavioral problems.
While every attempt is made to place children in the home of relatives/kin it is not always possible and other eligible foster parents are needed. Currently there are nine children who are in kinship care after being removed from their parental home.
The department does provide some financial support for the foster carers and the child. Education and medical bills are paid for my Social Services.
Fergus noted that foster carers can give their preference for the gender of the child they wish to help. She added that currently teens are the ones who need the places to stay.