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The child, foster care and the system

Notices from the police for missing children once again have become popular which have led us to do a little research on these missing young people. We will abstain from joining with the police to label them as runaway teens, since that puts a colour on the incidents. Take this notice from the Police seeking the assistance of the general public in locating Lakisha Roach, a 14-year-old Student of St Paul’s, Saint George. Lakisha left her home for school on Wednesday November 15, 2023, and has not returned since. Anyone seeing Lakisha or has any information about her whereabouts is kindly asked to contact Special Victims Unit at 440 4739, St Paul’s Police Station at 440 3224, Police Hotline at 444 1958 or the nearest police station. Why, was this notice labelled Run away teen?

Another issue was the child that seemed to have been abducted from her home and a man was subsequently charged for stealing a child. This raised some eyebrows as members of the public tried to understand the charge which was very new to Grenadians. The story that was revealed in the media seriously pointed to the seemingly dangerous situation that the child was living in. The child was told by the mother to go to the neighbour for food which seemed to have been a usual thing. Does anybody know why there was no food at home? It was alleged that it was the step-father who took her away maybe in a bid to get even with the mother who had ended a relationship with him. Was that little girl left alone at home sometimes which places her in a vulnerable situation? Another man showed up claiming that he is the father of the young girl. We can only hope that measures were taken before ascertaining that he was speaking the truth since the girl is now in his care.

Information posted on social media, allegedly from another young girl who was reported missing, also sparked some concern. The information stated that the young girl who was placed in foster care, was fed up with being moved around and the alleged bad treatment meted out to her in different homes. She seemed to have been seeking an attentive ear from the powers that be to explain her predicament and we are happy that the police have indicated that they have found her and are investigating the situation.

We have done our research and are amazed at the many negative stories we have heard concerning children who are placed in foster care. Sadly, it seems that from the start they are considered blemished fruit, not deserving of any genuine love, care and attention. A social worker revealed to us that once the little girls were raped or had any kind of illegal sexual encounter, it’s very hard to get them in to foster care since there are stories of husbands continuing in that light with them and now it’s also with the young boys too. Isn’t that showing up weakness in the surveillance programme of the Child Welfare Authority?

The case of young Ariel Bhola will never be forgotten. This newspaper has learnt that The Child Welfare Authority was aware that she was living under dangerous circumstances, yet there was no intervention to have her placed in a safer environment. Oh what a glamourous funeral she had, there was even a birthday party held posthumously for her at Camerhogne Park. But where was the care and concern that she needed when she was growing up as an innocent little girl? All reports show that she was most times alone at home for long hours after school. If parents are made to accept their responsibility by the system, then wouldn’t all children be taken care of properly?

Governments watch while people choose to squat and build homes in dangerous places which are not appropriate for the upbringing of children. Yet they cast a blind eye because they need the votes from the masses in return. It is a known fact that children in an area called Gwan Ca in Grand Anse are living dangerously and are vulnerable. Again we ask, where are the gate-keepers to intervene? 

The secondary school student, who in a viral video was seen in a physical altercation with a member of the Royal Grenada Police Force received five charges – Disorderly Behaviour in a Public Place, Threatening Language, Resisting Arrest and two counts of Assault on Police. This was brought to light in a short video, which went viral on social media highlighting the teenager in a secondary school uniform in the middle of a muddle with police officers in Saint George’s in broad daylight. At 16 years old he now has a bad police record. How did we get here?

Since that video, other videos have surfaced on social media of school children engaged in fights and loitering within the town, notably at the back of the Cruise Ship port area. There is even a video where one student died shortly after being kicked in the chest by another. What is responsible for this nefarious behaviour? Then there is the issue of young people loitering in the towns after school; where is the alternative if they must wait for their parents to finish their jobs at 4pm?

The youth centre and the public library where they could have stayed safely under proper supervision are now a thing of the past.

The care of the children of the nation need immediate attention!

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