Be the village, foster a child

Be the village, foster a child

In photo: The SJIS team at the launch event of Foster Care Month.

~ Ms. Sally named foster parent of the year ~

With Mother’s Day on the mind, many are reflecting on the impact that parental love and guidance has had on their lives. Many children on St. Maarten are in a difficult situation, and are in need of the same. May is Foster Care Month, and Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten SJIS is inviting you to be part of the village that it takes to raise our children. Whether you’re able to provide a fulltime, stable, loving home; spend time with foster children on the weekends; or donate towards the cause, you can make a meaningful difference in a child’s life.

Ever thought about it? Throughout the month of May – under the slogan “Be the village, foster a child” – there will be lots of opportunity to learn more about what it’s like, what support is available to foster parents or mentors, what the requirements are, and more.

If you’re a suitable candidate, you can become a full-time foster parent, weekend foster parent, or mentor – providing not only stability and nurture, but an opportunity and place to heal, and a better chance of success for the child.

Besides meeting the basic requirements, signing up to become a foster parent also entails taking a training programme, allowing home inspections, and maintaining a close relationship with the SJIS/Family Guardianship department. Flexibility is also important, as children have different needs, and need accommodations for undetermined amounts of time.

There is an urgent need for foster families on St. Maarten. Ideally, there would be a home available for every child in need of one, as children usually fare better with a foster family than in a group home. Thankfully, however, capacity to care for foster children is soon expected to increase, with the introduction of a new youth residential home in the upcoming weeks.

The Foster Families Central unit of the SJIS has planned a slate of activities throughout the month in order to raise awareness, reach out to the community, and enlist families that are able to provide safe, nurturing homes to foster children.

Besides community outreach, SJIS will also be showing appreciation to everyone involved, from foster parents to mentors, to workers in the field. A foster parent of the year has been chosen: Veronica Benjamin, better known as “Ms. Sally”.

A successful opening event, marking the start of the month’s activities was held at the government building on May 3 – Foster Care Day. There will be a family fun day which is open to the whole community at the Emilio Wilson Estate on Thursday, May 26, and a walk-a-thon on Saturday, May 28, from 3:00 to 6:00pm.

Notably, the SJIS team will set up information stands as part of the recruitment drive, where you’ll be able to ask questions, collect practical information, access registration forms, and make donations.

Every Saturday this month, these stands will be at major grocery stores, starting with Carrefour on Bush Road this Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Locations for the following Saturdays will be announced via social media. There will also be information stands from 10:00am to 3:00pm at Carrefour every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this month.

To keep up to date on activities, and for more information on exact locations and times, visit and follow the foundation via Facebook and Instagram @foundationjisxm.

For more information, call +1 721 542-3449/+1 721 526-4310, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the SJIS-Foster Families Central office in Unit 2 F/G at the Yogesh Commercial Complex on the AJC Brouwers Rd. If you would like to donate, transfer to Stichting Justitiele Inrichtingen Bovenwinden, bank account number 21622503 (NAf.), Windward Islands Bank, Clem Labega Square.

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