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Children left behind

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

THE Social Welfare Ministry has recorded an increase in the number of abandoned children, which the ministry believes has resulted in the increased number of children at St Christopher's Home.

In an interview, the home sister-in-charge Sister Kalolaine Tuineau admitted that the number of children in their care had increased from 25 in May to 35 in June — the maximum being 50 for both girls and boys.

"The increase in the number of children going to St Christopher's Home is based on the increase in the number of children being abandoned by their parents and also the police have referred some of this to us," Minister for Social Welfare Dr Jiko Luveni said.

"St Christopher's Home is able to accommodate these children at whatever time and this is why we continue to use them and this is also why we are in a very good relationship with them until now because they are really accommodating.

"The ministry provides them with monthly allowances that are allocated based on the number of children they cater for and we have only just increased this allowance in the last six months or so."

Sister Tuineau said while the home was dedicated to looking after these children, their only concern was the rise in expenses of basic needs such as food items and the right to children having access to basic education.

"We can cater for these children because we work with the ministry in looking after them.

"We may not be expecting some more but it all depends on the need because caring for children is not like any hurricane or natural disaster happens that we need to take them but it depends on what the children come across and the cases that are reported to Social Welfare.

"This is when they are taken into care but the hope is that the children are safe in their own homes with their own families and we do not want to encourage parents in doing such things," she said.

St Christopher's Home in Nakasi caters for boys from the age of infancy to 12 years and girls from infancy to 18 years of age.

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