|Ann Greene presenting at the Workshop|
The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) with the support of the USASID Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) - Guyana Project held a Children’s Rights Workshop last Friday commemorating International Human Rights Day 2015 which was held under the theme, “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” This workshop, which was attended by representatives of nearly thirty Civil Society Organisations focused on the rights and issues affecting orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) in Guyana.
During her presentation on childcare services offered by the state at a Children’s Rights Workshop hosted by SASOD with support from USAID’s Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) Project last Friday, Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) Ann Green announced that there are no laws barring homosexuals from adopting or being foster parents, the agency does not discriminate and under her direction she encourages anyone to apply for the care and protection of vulnerable and neglected children. “There is nothing in the law barring gay people from adopting or applying to be foster parents, the Childcare and Protection Agency does not discriminate and under my direction the agency is more than willing to try it.”
Traditionally it has been heterosexual couples that are selected to be foster parents or adopt children but the agency has recently began exploring other options in its quest to find more comfortable and secured homes for OVC. She encourages more citizens to apply to be foster parents and/or adopt. Green disclosed that the CPA recently tried a single male; he was screened, selected and approved to be a parent, this however was challenged by the child’s biological parents who argued against the adoption – the agency won the case on the grounds that the single man has met the state’s requirements and the selection was in the best interest of the child’s welfare.
Director Green posited that children need love, support and protection from violence and any harm and it does not matter who those protectors and caregivers are as long as the child’s welfare is secure and comfortable. “That is what children need, security and protection from abuse, violence and harm; the agency will protect these children and hold their welfare in regard – Under my direction the Agency is willing to try it [single persons and homosexuals adopting]. Children need us. The Agency screens everyone the same, equally and without discrimination and will grant a child/children once applicants meet the agency's requirements of offering safety, comfort and resources to take care of children. Children’s welfare is paramount to us.”
These remarks were later supported by Attorney-at-Law Dela Britton, whom also sits as a Trustee on the Board of Directors of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA). “Single persons and homosexuals couples can adopt. There is nothing in the law against this; people have their own biases and prejudices, but the law must consider what is in the best interest of the child.”
‘The best interest of the child’ is determined under the mandate of the Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency with power invested in the office under the Childcare and Protection Act.