By Sylvia Akpan
A quarterly foster care meeting of the Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI) and partners has been held in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
A key partner, the State Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare was absent in the meeting meant to look into teething issues of fostering and adoption in Cross River as regards the Child’s Right Law.
BRCI Program Coordinator, Mrs. Ese Ibor during her opening remark while waiting for the Ministry posited that “Today’s meeting is going to be centered around the fostering and adoption requirements for the State Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare.”
She further revealed that the requirements from the Ministry are not consistent. Her words: “There is a lot of back and forth, they will ask you to pay money and all that, so we want to know what their requirements are and compare it with what the Child’s Right Law says.
“That is why the meeting is necessary so we are still waiting for them but we will still go ahead and do what we are supposed to do.”
After waiting for a long time without any communication from the Ministry, the founder of the Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, James Ibor said it was difficult to continue to wait on the Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare and thanked participants who made time to attend the meeting.
He revealed that he personally had kept in touch with them until the dying minute and saw no reason why they should be absent.
“I don’t intend to punish you because of those who will choose to come late. I followed up personally with them and they promised to be here but unfortunately, they are not here, we are going to go on,” he said.
James addressed the practice and procedures for fostering and adoption which set the tone for the discussion while also announcing that the Cross River State House of Assembly had passed the amendment of the Child’s Right Law as he hoped for the Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade to give his assent before leaving office.
James posited that “The best way to do adoption is to start by way of fostering because fostering enables you to take a decision to be born or adopted.”
The meeting which was held at the Girls Power Initiative office saw participants discuss how to expand space in existing shelters. They called on good-spirited individuals to support their course for a better society.