Why there should be foster parents?

In Bulgaria over 800 children grow up in social homes. Every year, a little over 1,000 children are abandoned, more than 400 of whom are still in the maternity ward. There are two main reasons for this: lack of support and poverty.

In our country for many years there is a belief that the place of a baby with a disability is in a social home, and that the state is a good mother. We, the specialists of the For Our Children Foundation, know very well that this is not the case. That is why, since 1997, we have been looking for foster parents and people to take care of the most vulnerable children.

What is foster care?

Foster care is caring for a child in your home who cannot be with your family. Very often parents face serious difficulties such as unemployment, poverty, serious illness, crisis in family relationships. At such a time, when there is a risk for the child’s upbringing, it is better for him to go to a foster family until the problem of his native is resolved and he returns to him.

In Bulgaria, the practice is that when parents for some reason can not take care of their child, it should be immediately sent to a social home, where there is no way to receive quality care, attention and love, he needs to grow confidently and calmly .

Foster care is an opportunity for the child not to end up in an institution, but to go to the family of other people who are prepared and will take care of him with all their love and support. Foster parents provide a safe, secure and stable environment for children and in most cases support the child and his or her family and work towards them living together again.

Very often the children from the homes have their living parents who have not given them up. In these cases, the children cannot be adopted and are doomed to spend their lives in an institution. Then it is best for them to live in a foster family that does not receive full parental rights, but can provide a real home and support for these children.

Who are the children who need foster parents?

This may be a child placed in an institution or one for whom it is not appropriate to stay with their parents for a certain period of time. It can be a newborn whose mother cannot take care of him, as well as a teenager who has spent his life in a social home for whom it is not possible to be adopted or returned to his family. The age of the children who can be placed in a foster family is from 0 to 18 years or up to 20 years if they study.

Types of foster care

Emergency – In cases where a child needs to be taken out of his family as a matter of urgency. Then the child stays in the foster family for a short period of time, which is necessary to decide on his future.

Short-term – To take care of a child until the difficulties in his family are resolved and he can return to his parents or be adopted. Short-term accommodation is undertaken for a period of 1 year in order to support the family and return the child to it. During the short-term placement, regular contacts are made between the child and his biological family, if it is in his interest.

Long-term – Long-term placement is provided for a period of more than one year for children whose parents have died, unknown, deprived of parental rights, with limited rights, for children whose parents without good reason permanently do not care for them or are permanently unable to raise them and it is not possible to return to the native family, as well as their adoption.

Substitute foster care – Substitute foster care is provided to a child for a short period of time or periodically, in order to support the child caregiver or the child.

Foster care can be voluntary – families take care of children free of charge, receiving only monthly funds for their upbringing and education, and professional – people who accept child care as their professional vocation in which they can develop. In professional foster care, the foster parent receives a salary and child support.

Who can be a foster parent?

To be a foster parent you need:

✓ be confident in your decision;

✓ your family and relatives to accept the idea of ​​becoming a foster parent;

✓ to show that you are willing to take care of children and to participate in foster care training;

✓ have enough space in your home and time to take care of and communicate with the child;

✓ to show understanding for the needs of the placed child;

✓ be willing to work in partnership with social workers;

✓ not to have been convicted, not to be in poor health or to have problems with alcohol and drugs;

✓ be willing to work in partnership with social workers;

✓ not to have been convicted, not to be in poor health or to have problems with alcohol and drugs;

Steps on the path to foster parenting

What you need to know about the process of selection and selection of foster families.

Information meeting
Submitting an application
Training of candidates for foster parents
Evaluation of candidates
Approval of candidates
Getting to know and matching
Accommodation

Information meeting

It all starts with the information meeting. At it, the candidates for foster parents get acquainted with what foster care is and what are the requirements for becoming a foster parent. She does not engage the future foster parent in anything. He can get the information he needs to decide if he wants to move forward.

At the end of the meeting, the candidates receive a questionnaire, which must be filled in by all members of the household and, as we in the organization say: “Even the opinion of the pets must be taken into account.”

Call 02 975 40 25 to make an appointment.

Submitting an application

Applicants for foster parents apply at this address.

Training of candidates for foster parents

Basic – 4 sessions of 3 hours according to an approved program

Additional qualification – 8 sessions of 3 hours according to an approved program

Evaluation of candidates

4 months + 2 months extension for objective reasons concerning the candidates

 

After submitting an application, the evaluation of the candidates for foster parents begins.

✓ A minimum of 4 meetings are held with the candidates and the other members of the household;

✓ Individual meetings are held with each of the candidates, where issues related to their childhood, education, work, family, relatives and friends are discussed;

✓ Meetings are held with the children in the household;

✓ In the cases when the foster child will be taken care of not only by the foster parents, but also by a person outside the household, meetings are held with him / her;

✓ 2 visits to the candidates’ home.

 

After the individual and family meetings and after the completion of the training and evaluation for candidates for foster parents, the social worker of the family prepares a report for the candidates for foster parents, which they get acquainted with and sign with their approval. The report is submitted to the Foster Care Commission at the Regional Directorate for Social Assistance – Sofia.

Approval of candidates

After that, a Foster Care Commission is convened at the Regional Directorate for Social Assistance – Sofia for approval of the candidates. The commission is composed of various specialists with knowledge in the field of child welfare – pediatricians, psychologists, lawyers, social workers, foster care experts and foster families.

The Commission takes note of the evaluation report, listens to the family’s social worker and invites the foster parents themselves.

 

What are the possible decisions and outcomes of the Meetings for approval of foster families?

✓ The Commission decides on the approval of the respective application, brings it to the attention of the Director of the Regional Directorate for Social Assistance, who issues an order for entry of the candidates for foster family in the register of approved foster parents;

✓ The Commission finds that it needs additional information on an application and requires further evaluation by a social worker;

✓ The Commission decides to reject the respective application, acquaints the director of the Regional Directorate for Social Assistance – Sofia with him and he with an order refuses the entry of the candidates for foster family in the register of approved foster parents.

Getting to know and matching

Once the candidates for a foster family have been approved, the search begins for which specific child it is suitable for. When a child in need of foster care is identified, the story is told to the foster parents. The foster family is given the opportunity to ask about everything they are interested in about the child, after which they are given time to think and give their consent or refusal to take care of the particular child.

If the family expresses a desire to take care of the child, the preparation for his placement begins. It is planned how many times the foster family will meet with the child before he or she lives with them; how many times the child will visit their home to get to know the environment and the people he will live with.

The purpose of this adjustment process is to move the child more smoothly to the foster parents’ home. This is the time for the foster parents to tell the child about their family, about their children / if there are any /, to show them a photo and a photo of their home. This way the child will know where he is going.

In case of emergency accommodation, there is no process of adjustment, because it is associated with a quick response and urgent action.

Accommodation

After the process of getting acquainted, the child is placed in the foster parents’ home. The first day is usually full of anticipation and some anxiety, but thanks to the introductory meetings, the foster parents and the child know each other and are prepared for that moment. After the child lives with the foster parents, the social workers of the For Our Children Foundation continue to help them and are always available when they need professional advice, when they do not know how to react in one or another crisis situation.

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