WHY WE SHOULD ALL FOSTER UGANDA’S ABANDONED CHILDREN.
At her home in the suburbs of Wakiso, Doreen Kyomugisha cuddles and rocks four months old Anita who is making innocent baby noises without a care in the world. Before long, she is asleep and is taken to bed. 8 months old Peter wakes up almost immediately, “that is their sleeping sequence,” Kyomugisha says while emerging from the bedroom with him. Peter is a very bubbly baby who doesn’t cry for all the time I am there.
The social worker who I go with to Kyomugisha’s home is surprised that Peter no longer cries, “he used to cry a lot, I’m surprised he is calm now,” she quips.
Looking at these two babies, you could think they are Kyomugisha’s children, until you hear their plight, a plight no one would want to have.
Anita’s mother left her at a witch doctor’s home, she came on a boda boda, entered the house and asked for 5,000/= to pay the boda boda cyclist, the witch doctor’s daughter who was home told her she didn’t have money, Anita’s mum then asked to leave Anita with her for a short time so that she could go to her friend who lived in the neighbourhood and get money to pay. She told the same story to the cyclist, Anita’s mother never returned. Peter was left at a verandah in Wakiso at 10:00p.m in the night. Peter is believed to have been five days old because his umbilical cord hadn’t fallen off yet.
Whereas the babies thrived health wise when they were brought, they were not coping up socially, Peter would throw a lot of tantrums while Anita was too withdrawn. Kyomugisha took them on under the short term foster care programme that was being piloted at Ugandans Adopt.
Short term foster care
For years Ugandans have Many abandoned babies end up in institutional care and orphanages which are potentially harmful to the mental and physical development of such children.
According to UNICEF statistics, as many as eight million children are spending their precious and irreplaceable childhood in institutions. In most cases, the children are receive food, clothes, a cot or bed, an education and a roof over their heads but they never get the love, support and sense of identity that only a loving family can give. Family life is critical to a child’s healthy development. Without it, children suffer great harm and are deeply damaged.
According to Immaculate Atwine Byaruhanga, a Transitional Care Manager, short term foster care or emergency foster care is where abandoned children are placed with loving families who provide temporary care in a real home and family. “The organization continues providing for the child’s basic needs like education and health, all one has to do is provide a home and love for the child, so that they don’t have delayed milestones,” she adds.
While a child is being cared for in this way, social workers will try and trace their relatives and reunite the child with their family, if those attempts are unsuccessful, a child can go on to be placed permanently with loving Ugandan adoptive parents. Whatever the outcome, whether resettlement or adoption, in the meantime the child will have been loved, supported and nurtured in a real family. The child will have started to form secure attachments which they can continue to develop when placed with a permanent family.
Where as Long-term foster care is when neither family resettlement nor adoption are a viable option, long-term fostering gives a child the chance to grow up loved in a family until they reach the age of 18. In some cases, children have family but, due to child protection issues, cannot be resettled with them. In this instance, the next best option is finding an alternative family to bring them up as their own
According to James Kaboggoza Ssembatya, the Assistant Commissioner of Children’s Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development the concept of Short Term Foster Care ensures children are not subjected to institutional care. This enables the child the child to grow up in a family setting. ”It also provides an opportunity for foster parents considering adoption to stay with a child and see if they are compatible”, he adds.
Could you provide a loving home?
Ugandans Adopt is piloting a short term foster care programme. Though abandoned, these children deserve to grow up in a family setting, rather than be raised in an institution without a family. Short term foster care makes a significant and lasting difference to a child’s health and happiness, giving them the best possible start in life and a happy yet healthy future.
You can give an abandoned child the love and care they need until a loving family is found for them. If you have room in your heart and home to provide an abandoned baby with a loving family, Ugandans Adopt would love to hear from you.Ugandans Adopt is calling upon all Ugandan families and individuals who are able and willing to care for abandoned Ugandan children for short term foster care to reach them.
Who can foster?
Almost any adult over 21 can apply to be a Foster Carer, but as with any career, some people will be more suited than others. You do not need any formal qualifications to become a Foster Carer. However, you do need skills and experience that will enable you to meet the needs of a child. You can apply to foster regardless of your marital or residential status. Your suitability will be independently assessed and vetted by a Government panel.
Below is a video that sheds light on Short Term Foster Care
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