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Jan 18, 2023

Liberty Children’s Home Needs Your Help

Liberty Children’s Home has been around since 2004, providing residential services to children who have been abandoned, neglected, and abused, among other reasons. Built to shelter thirty, the institution is currently home to twice that number, and thus, the needs have been mounting, but the assistance it receives, dwindling. The global inflation has not helped the children’s home, which does receive one third of its monthly expenditures from the Ministry of Human Development. The rest is left up to the management of the home to provide. And as News Five’s Marion Ali found out today, meeting the growing demands have been a tall order while trying to provide the best possible care to the children it serves.


Marion Ali, Reporting

These rooms at this facility have provided a home to some of Belize’s most unfortunate children – unfortunate because of their history and what sent them here. But the directors of Liberty Children’s Home are in need of help if they are to continue carry on with that task.


Agatha Valentine

Agatha Valentine, Director, Liberty Children’s Home

“I have to say that it has been difficult. We have to fundraise. We do have one of our directors because I report to a board of directors, and there’s one specific director in the US that does fundraisers for us, which of course she’s beginning to find very challenging with this global economic recession that’s happening. Besides that we have to see what we can do on the ground, if we can get people to buy-in so every little bit counts.”


Some program areas, such as in-house counseling have had to be discontinued for the meantime, Valentine says, and the children now rely on the therapy that the Department of Human Services provides. The children are taken to Liberty by personnel from the Department of Human Services and the Ministry of Human Development provides a monthly grant that covers twenty-five percent of the expenses. The children’s home then provides the food and daily care for the children until they can reunite with their families, or if that is not possible, adopted by another family, and where even that is doesn’t happen, to reintegrate into society.


Agatha Valentine

“Whatever a child may need, whatever a child requires – medical, psychological, educational, social needs – everything that a child may require, we provide it for that child at Liberty.”


Each child has their own individual needs, and that too is sorted out by the institution and provided on that level. But while Liberty has a structure in place, one thing that all the children are afforded is the freedom to make certain decisions.


Agatha Valentine

“We literally keep the gates open because we want it to feel more home-like, as opposed to an institution and have everybody locked up. Our children get to do more socially, in the sense that they get to go in the community and interact. If you’re too insulated as a child then sometimes it takes away from your decision-making skills. So as a foster mother because technically that is what I am, I do more and I allow my children to do more, so I give them the opportunity to make decisions. Based on how they make their decision, they get more opportunities or the privileges are taken away from them.”


Because the population at the home keeps growing, the children’s home has had to run a daycare and a pre-school facility that cater to children who live outside of its premises in order to help allay the expenses it incurs within. It offers those services at significantly reduced fees than what others in the business charge. But the institution is also turning to you for help.


Agatha Valentine

“We always are in need – food is one of the big things. You go to the grocery store on a daily basis and you see the cost of the basic items going up so food is one of the basic things, if anybody can assist in those regards. I know people prefer to give tangible things – things they know the children will benefit from, so whatever you can contribute. Clothing is always needed, medical items – we do a lot of self-help, like flu, cold, cough type things, Tylenol. Every child loves snacks, so please don’t forget the snacks, vegetables, fruits, those are things that can contributing to a balanced diet.”

But while the children are being cared for at the facility, there’s no care like that provided by a family unit, and that is the ultimate hope for every child. It is also one that Liberty’s management has for the children.


Agatha Valentine

“If there’s any family out there that can do any fostering, even if it’s short term, what we refer to as respite, for the weekend, holiday period, to get more involved. I don’t believe the process is that extensive, so you can go to the Department of Human Services to see what the requirements are.”


And behaviour should not be a concern, Valentine says.


Agatha Valentine

“A lot of people at times stigmatize and think that the children are wayward behaviour-wise. That isn’t true. And I think that they’re coping really well with their realities. As an institution, we do work very hard on changing behaviours and teaching our children right from wrong.”

Marion Ali for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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