Shillong, Oct 10 : A focus group discussion was organized at St Ann Secondary School, Wahheh Mawpat by SOS India in collaboration with Martin Luther Christian University (MLCU) and Directorate of Social Welfare Government of Meghalaya with foster parents and children on October 8, 2021.
The objective of the Focus Group discussion was to develop a curriculum and manual development for the training manual of Foster parents in Meghalaya and this FGD was part of the understanding of the challenges faced by foster parents and children in Meghalaya.
This programme was inaugurated with the presence of L. Lyngdoh, Assistant Director, Directorate of Social Welfare, Iadalin Rapthap, Programme Manager of State Child Protection Society, Director of SOS, Meghalaya, Mr. Pradhan and faculty from the School of Social Work, Martin Luther Christian University.
Lyngdoh stressed on the importance of family in comparison to institutions and that the value of family has been there for a very long time in our culture. A child learns more, receives more care, attention, and love in a non-institutional setting rather than in institutions.
Rapthap stressed on the importance of having more parents be aware of foster services likewise parents or individuals who care to reach out and join hands with the Social Welfare Directorate especially since with COVID-19 many children are in need of care and protection.
She informed that the Foster care programme since its inception in 2012 has seen no changes; to date very few families have opted for foster services with only 39 foster children in Shillong and 8 in Ri-Bhoi district. So there is a dire need for more families to step out and register themselves for the best interest of the child/children.
Mr Pradhan emphasized on the need for collaboration of the SOS village, Martin Luther Christian University and Directorate of Social Welfare for the benefit of the society, for it is a much needed collaboration.
He also added that it is time for foster families including caretakers to follow procedures and know the guidelines and gain practical knowledge through training on how to best rear the child/children under their care.